Holy See, called the See of Rome, Petrine See or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Pope in his role as the bishop of Rome.
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Holy See is administered by the Roman Curia, which is the central government of the Catholic Church.
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The Holy See is thus viewed as the central government of the Catholic Church.
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Holy See maintains bilateral diplomatic relations with 183 sovereign states, signs concordats and treaties, and performs multilateral diplomacy with multiple intergovernmental organizations, including the United Nations and its agencies, the Council of Europe, the European Communities, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the Organization of American States.
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The term "Apostolic Holy See" can refer to any see founded by one of the Twelve Apostles, but, when used with the definite article, it is used in the Catholic Church to refer specifically to the see of the Bishop of Rome, whom that Church sees as the successor of Saint Peter.
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Sovereignty of the Holy See was retained despite multiple sacks of Rome during the Early Middle Ages.
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Notwithstanding, the Holy See was represented in and identified as a "permanent subject of general customary international law vis-a-vis all states" in the Congress of Vienna.
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Holy See is one of the last remaining seven absolute monarchies in the world, along with Saudi Arabia, Eswatini, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Brunei and Oman.
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Orders, decorations, and medals of the Holy See are conferred by the pope as temporal sovereign and fons honorum of the Holy See, similar to the orders awarded by other heads of state.
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Holy See has been recognized, both in state practice and in the writing of modern legal scholars, as a subject of public international law, with rights and duties analogous to those of States.
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The Holy See maintains formal diplomatic relations with and for the most recent establishment of diplomatic relations with 183 sovereign states, and with the European Union, and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, as well as having relations of a special character with the Palestine Liberation Organization; 69 of the diplomatic missions accredited to the Holy See are situated in Rome.
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The Holy See maintains 180 permanent diplomatic missions abroad, of which 74 are non-residential, so that many of its 106 concrete missions are accredited to two or more countries or international organizations.
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The diplomatic activities of the Holy See are directed by the Secretariat of State, through the Section for Relations with States.
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The British Ambassador to the Holy See uses more precise language, saying that the Holy See "is not the same as the Vatican City State.
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Holy See is a member of various international organizations and groups including the International Atomic Energy Agency, International Telecommunication Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
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The Holy See is a permanent observer in various international organizations, including the United Nations General Assembly, the Council of Europe, UNESCO, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
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Holy See participates as an observer to African Union, Arab League, Council of Europe, Organization of American States, International Organization for Migration, and in the United Nations and its agencies FAO, ILO, UNCTAD, UNEP, UNESCO, UN-HABITAT, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, WFP, WHO, WIPO.
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In spite of some uncertainty among jurists as to whether it could continue to act as an independent personality in international matters, the Holy See continued in fact to exercise the right to send and receive diplomatic representatives, maintaining relations with states that included the major powers Russia, Prussia, and Austria-Hungary.
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Holy See signed the UN treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a binding agreement for negotiations for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
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Main difference between the two coats of arms is that the arms of the Holy See have the gold key in bend and the silver key in bend sinister, while the reversed arrangement of the keys was chosen for the arms of the newly founded Vatican City State in 1929.
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