The Holy See

Capital Vatican City

Time Zone CET (GMT+1)

Country Code 39

ccTLD .va

Currency Euro

Land Area 0.44 sq km

Population 836

Language Latin, Italian

Major Religion Roman Catholicism

Key Data

Notable Public Figures

Francis I - Jorge Mario Bergoglio,

Pietro Parolin,
Cardinal Secretary of State

Giovanni Angelo Becciu,
Substitute for General Affairs

Paul Richard Gallagher,
Secretary for the Relations with States

Antoine Camiller,
Undersecretary for the Relations with States

Luciano Suriani,
Delegate for Pontificial Representations

Peter Brian Wells,
Assessor for General Affairs

José Avelino Bettencourt,
Head of Protocol

Domenico Giani,
Chief of Vatican Gendarmerie

Montenegro and The Vatican’s Challenges in the Balkans

Tiny, mountainous Montenegro, independent since only 2006, is currently the scene of an intelligence and diplomatic drive by the Vatican – reported for the first time by – that aims to fundamentally reshape the region’s balance of political and religious power.The Vatican challenges in the Balkans Bolstering the Catholic Church in 2015 and beyond


According to tradition and recent statistics, most Catholics inhabit the central coastal region of Boka Kotorska (Kotor, Tivat and Herceg-Novi) running up to the Croatian border, with the diocese seat at Kotor’s famous 12th-century Cathedral of St Tryphon.

Other Catholic populations include an Albanian minority in the south, near the border with Albania and Kosovo. It is this population that, all relevant sources claim, is the current focus of interest for the Holy See and partners such as Hungary and Germany. Revealed for for the first time in the book, the Vatican’s cooperative intelligence-gathering and diplomacy initiatives here are of the utmost importance to future regional outlooks.

Montenegro also has problems involving the Knights of Malta (who desire ancient religious relics they believe to be theirs) and its other Christian denominations. Chiefly, these involve the Serbian Orthodox Church, which has traditionally administered the country, and the upstart, so-called ‘Montenegrin Orthodox Church’ which currently claims the support of 30 percent of the population. An operation with decidedly dubious origins, the MOC is going to play a key role in enhancing Vatican influence on both churches. Like Pope Francis himself, both the Serbian and Montenegrin churches have strong connections with Argentina.

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All in all, little Montenegro constitutes the key link along the Adriatic between solidly Catholic Croatia to the north, and religiously-mixed Albania to the south, and can be heavily influenced by goings-in Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo along the eastern flanks. When adding in the interests here of Russia, the US, EU and international finance and criminal groups, it is clear that Montenegro will be at the center of the action – in both diplomacy and espionage – when it comes to Vatican activities in the Balkans.

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