Today is the Vatican's 80th birthday.
Yes, really, only 80 years old. It is an official holiday there today. Vatican City became a sovereign state on February 11, 1929 after an agreement between Pope Pius XI and Mussolini led to the signing of the Lateran Treaties.
Enlarge this photo of the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center and you see the Vatican flag flying. Imagine, stepping into Vatican territory in the middle of Jerusalem!
Notre Dame received its first pilgrims in 1888. The building's history is at their website.
I found this paragraph the most interesting:
"Large groups of pilgrims began coming to the Holy Land in 1882 under the direction of French Assumptionists. . . . Notre Dame de France Pilgrim Center met the requirements for the new types of large pilgrimages in which 500 pilgrims would arrive and depart at the same time on special ships equipped with chapels. At Notre Dame de France, the pilgrims found accommodations commensurate with their numbers. The Assumptionists assisted them spiritually and served as guides as they visited the Holy Places."
So, happy birthday Vatican City.
Hey bloggers, have you checked out the Vatican's new dedicated channel on YouTube? Click here and see daily videos of what Pope Benedict is up to.