Vatican City in History

Historical Events

Historic Event

0800-12-01 Charlemagne judges the accusations against Pope Leo III in the Vatican.

  • 1483-08-09 Opening of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican
  • 1506-01-22 The first contingent of 150 Swiss Guards arrive at the Vatican

St. Peter's Basilica

1506-04-18 The cornerstone of the current St. Peter's Basilica is laid in the Vatican by Pope Julius II

Historic Event

1512-11-01 Michelangelo's paintings on ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican first exhibited

  • 1541-10-31 Michelangelo Buonarroti finishes painting "The Last Judgement" in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City
  • 1593-01-27 Vatican opens 7 year trial against scholar Giordano Bruno
  • 1600-02-08 Vatican convicts scholar and friar Giordano Bruno (who believed in an infinite universe) of heresy and sentences him to be burnt at the stake

Historic Event

1633-06-22 Galileo Galilei recants his "heretical" position that the Earth orbiting the Sun was at odds with the Bible and church teaching (Vatican apologizes in Oct 1992 for how it handled the case)

  • 1869-12-08 20th Roman Catholic ecumenical council, Vatican I, opens in Rome
  • 1904-05-21 France recalls its ambassador to the Vatican to protest the Pope's attempt to discipline two French bishops; this is yet another incident driving France and the Catholic Church apart
  • 1914-01-26 Vatican puts Belgian Nobel winner Maeterlinck's works in their index
  • 1922-05-30 Latvia & Vatican sign accord

Historic Event

1922-09-29 Benito Mussolini asks the Vatican for support of his fascist party program

  • 1924-03-29 Bavaria & Vatican reach accord
  • 1926-12-29 Vatican puts French fascist Charles Maurras' work on the index
  • 1929-02-11 Vatican City, the world's smallest country, is made an enclave of Rome
  • 1929-06-07 Vatican City becomes a sovereign state
  • 1929-06-14 Prussia and Vatican sign Concord
  • 1929-06-29 Mexico & Vatican sign Concord
  • 1929-07-07 Romania & Vatican sign concord
  • 1930-12-04 Vatican approves rhythm method for birth control
  • 1931-02-12 Vatican Radio begins broadcasting with the callsign HVJ

Historic Event

1933-07-20 Vatican state secretary Pacelli (Pius XII) signs accord with Adolf Hitler

Historic Event

1938-05-03 Vatican recognizes Franco-Spain

Historic Event

1939-03-12 Pope Pius XII crowned in Vatican ceremonies

  • 1943-09-10 German troops occupy Rome and take took over the protection of Vatican City
  • 1943-11-05 Vatican in Rome bombed by unknown source
  • 1944-08-16 Dutch begin diplomatic contact with Vatican in London
  • 1950-10-30 Pope Pius XII witnesses "The Miracle of the Sun" while at the Vatican
  • 1953-07-27 Vatican disallows priest holiday work in factory

Historic Event

1959-01-25 Pope John XXIII proclaims 2nd Vatican council

  • 1959-04-13 Vatican edict forbids Roman Catholics from voting for communists
  • 1962-10-11 Second Vatican Council (21st ecumenical) convened by Pope John XXIII
  • 1963-09-29 2nd session of Ecumenical council, `Vatican II,' opened in Rome by Pope Paul

Historic Event

1963-12-04 Pope Paul VI closes 2nd session of 2nd Vatican Council

  • 1964-09-13 3rd sitting of 2nd Vatican council opens in Rome
  • 1964-11-21 Pope Paul VI signs 3rd sitting of 2nd Vatican council
  • 1965-09-14 4th meeting of 2nd Vatican council opened
  • 1965-12-08 Pope Paul VI signs 2nd Vatican council
  • 1968-03-01 Vatican City's Apostolic Constitution of 1967 goes into effect
  • 1968-12-16 Official revocation of the Edict of Expulsion of Jews from Spain at Second Vatican Council

Historic Event

1973-01-15 Pope Paul VI holds an audience with Golda Meir at the Vatican

Historic Event

1981-01-15 Pope John Paul II receives Lech Wałęsa and Solidarity delegation at the Vatican

Assassination Attempt

1981-05-13 Pope John Paul II is shot and critically wounded by Turkish gunman Mehemet Ali Agca in St Peter's Square, Vatican City

  • 1982-05-12 In Fatima Portugal, a Spanish Traditionalist priest who opposed Vatican II reforms and saw Pope John Paul II as a perpetrator of them, is stopped prior to his attempt to attack the Pope with a bayonet
  • 1982-06-07 US President Ronald Reagan meets with Pope John Paul II at Vatican City, Rome and later Queen Elizabeth II
  • 1984-01-10 US re-establishes full diplomatic relations with Vatican after almost 117 years
  • 1984-02-18 Revised concordat between Italy & Vatican signed
  • 1987-03-10 Vatican formal opposition to test-tube fertilization & embryo transfer
  • 1989-12-01 USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev meets Pope John Paul II at the Vatican

Historic Event

1989-12-24 Panama's dictator, Manual Noriega, seeks asylum at Vatican embassy

  • 1993-07-27 Mafia bombs historical buildings in Rome, Milan and Vatican City, 5 killed
  • 1993-12-30 Vatican recognizes Israel
  • 1994-04-07 Vatican commemorates The Holocaust for the first time with an orchestral concert in the Sala Nervi
  • 1997-12-23 A Channukah candle is officially lighted in Vatican City for the 1st time to celebrate Hanukkah and to reconcile Roman Catholics and Jews [1]
  • 2002-04-23 Pope John Paul II meets with U.S. Catholic Church leaders at Vatican regarding sexual abuse of minors
  • 2012-04-12 Bodleian, Oxford University and Vatican libraries announce over 1.5 million pages of ancient texts will be made available across the internet

Historic Event

2013-02-27 Pope Benedict XVI presents his farewell address to Vatican City

Historic Event

2014-02-24 Pope Francis creates a second Secretariat with the power to audit any Vatican agency at any time

  • 2015-09-01 Pope Francis tells priests to pardon women who have had an abortion, in a letter released by the Vatican


2016-09-04 Mother Teresa canonized by Pope Francis in a ceremony at the Vatican

  • 2017-05-23 US President Donald Trump meets Pope Francis at the Vatican
  • 2017-06-29 Vatican treasurer Cardinel George Pell charged with historic sexual offenses in Victoria, Australia

Historic Event

2017-12-14 The Vatican announces it has rediscovered the lost last paintings of Raphael in Vatican Museum, painted in 1520

  • 2018-08-16 Pope Francis and the Vatican issues statement in support of the 300 victims of "predator priests" in Pennsylvania
  • 2018-08-26 Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former US Vatican Ambassador, claims Pope Francis knew of and ignored sex abuse allegations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick

Famous Birthdays

  • 1845-10-17 Franz Ehrle, German prefect of Vatican library
  • 1860-09-07 Willem Hubert Nolens, Dutch priest and ambassador to Vatican, born in Venlo (d. 1931)
  • 1884-07-18 Alberto di Jorio, Italian Cardinal and former head of the Vatican Bank, born in Rome (d. 1979)
  • 1911-07-02 Diego Fabbri, Italian playwright and leader (Vatican movie bureau), born in Forli, Italy (d. 1980)

Famous Weddings

  • 2006-11-04 Croatian princess Paola Doimi de Frankopan (37) weds son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent Lord Nicholas Windsor (37) at St. Stephen of Abyssina in Vatican City
  • 2010-06-26 "American Beauty" actress Mena Suvari (31) weds concert producer Simone Sestito (25) at Santo Stefano degli Abissini in Vatican City, Italy

Famous Deaths

  • 1931-08-27 Willem Hubert Nolens, Dutch priest and ambassador to Vatican, dies at 70
  • 1934-03-31 Franz Ehrle, German Jesuit, head of Vatican library, dies at 88
  • 1979-09-05 Alberto di Jorio, Italian Cardinal and former head of the Vatican Bank, dies at 95
  • 1992-07-03 Marc Tannenbaum, American rabbi (only Jew to attend Vatican II), dies at 66
  • 1995-03-13 P C J van Lierde, Dutch vicar-gen of Vatican (1951-91), dies at 87