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Vatican 2012 Papal Visit to Monaco To Coincide with 125th Anniversary of Monaco's Catholic Diocese

January 13, 2012 - 9:07 PST


Boston, MA (January 13, 2012) - HdG, Ambassadeur Christ et de Marie, Dna. Maria St. Catherine De Grâce Sharpe, o.s.m., O.SS.T., a member of the Roman Catholic Marist Order and the Order of the Most Holy Trinity, and a European-born Oxford, Vatican and UN-trained ecclesiastical diplomatic scholar who serves as the President, and Princess Grace Ambassadorial Fellow for The Royal American Institute (Catholique) for the Study of Monaco & Monegasque International and Diplomatic Affairs, and President, and Ambassador SG for Holy See Ecclesiastical Diplomatic & Human Rights Affairs for The Institute on Vatican Law & Diplomacy, says that it is highly fitting and proper that Pope Benedict XVI should conduct a papal visit to the Principality of Monaco in 2012, since the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Monaco will commemorate its 125th anniversary this year.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Monaco is an ecclesiastical territory under the jurisdiction of the Holy See. It was first erected as a diocese on March 15, 1887, by the papal bull "Bulla Quemadmodum Sollicitus Pastor" of Pope Leo XIII, under the patronage of Saints Nicholas and Benoit. From 1868 to 1887, Monaco had a Catholic territorial abbey under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Diocese of Nice, France. Rev. Msgr. Charles-Bonaventure Theuret, the abbey's apostolic administrator, was named the first bishop of Monaco's new episcopal diocese. The Bull, approved by Prince Charles III and promulgated as a sovereign ordinance dated 28 September 1887, gave Prince Charles the force of law in the Principality.

On 15 June 1982, the Principality and the Papacy agreed to raise the Diplomatic Legation of Monaco to the Holy See to the rank of an embassy. Simultaneously, Pope John-Paul II raised the episcopal diocese of Monaco to the level of an archdiocese. The current Archbishop of Monaco, appointed by Pope John Paul II on May 16, 2000, is His Excellency, Rev. Archbishop Bernard César Augustin Barsi.

The mother church of Monaco's archdiocese and the seat of its archbishop is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The Cathedral, a Byzantine-style church was erected and inaugurated on November 12, 1903, and solemnly consecrated on June 11, 1911. The centenary of Monaco's Catholic Cathedral was commemorated last year with a Solemn Mass of Celebration on June 11, 2011. The Centennial Year extended from January 27, 2011, the feast of St. Devote, Monaco's patronal saint, to December 8, 2011, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. The Cathedral is also the formal resting place of all the Catholic sovereigns of the Grimaldi dynasty, including H.S.H. Prince Rainier III, who died in April 2005, and H.S.H. Princess Grace of Monaco, who died thirty years ago in September 1982. The Cathedral grave of H.S.H. Princess Grace remains a favorite site of Monegasque residents and tourists visiting the Principality. Her grave stays adorned with floral bouquets.

The 2012 Monaco papal visit will no doubt include a special papal program at the Cathedral attended by both the Archbishop of Monaco and the Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See accredited to the Principality.

2012 will also commemorate the 50th anniversary of the December 17, 1962 Constitution of the Principality of Monaco, amended in April 2002, which in Article 9 establishes Catholicism as the official state religion of the Principality.

The Royal American Institute (Catholique) for the Study of Monaco & Monegasque International and Diplomatic Affairs may be reached via email at: or see its developing website at


The Royal American Institute on Monaco
MA, 02116 US
Maria St. Catherine De Gr Sharpe - President,


Monaco Papal Visit 2012, Catholic Diocese Monaco, Vatican-Monaco Relations


International Archdiocese & Diocese

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