Pontifical Swiss Guard
The Pontifical Swiss Guard is a small force maintained by the Holy See, responsible for the safety of the Pope, including the security of the Apostolic Palace. The Swiss Guard serves as the de facto military of Vatican City. Established in 1506 under Pope Julius II, the Pontifical Swiss Guard is among the oldest military units in continuous operation; the dress uniform is of blue, red and yellow with a distinctly Renaissance appearance. The modern guard has the role of bodyguard of the Pope; the Swiss Guard is equipped with traditional weapons, such as the halberd, as well as with modern firearms. Since the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981, a much stronger emphasis has been placed on the guard's non-ceremonial roles, has seen enhanced training in unarmed combat and small arms. Recruits to the guards must be unmarried Swiss Catholic males between 19 and 30 years of age who have completed basic training with the Swiss Armed Forces; the Pontifical Swiss Guard has its origins in the 15th century.
Pope Sixtus IV had made an alliance with the Swiss Confederacy and built barracks in Via Pellegrino after foreseeing the possibility of recruiting Swiss mercenaries. The pact was renewed by Innocent VIII. Alexander VI actually used the Swiss mercenaries during their alliance with the King of France. During the time of the Borgias, the Italian Wars began in which the Swiss mercenaries were a fixture in the front lines among the warring factions, sometimes for France and sometimes for the Holy See or the Holy Roman Empire; the mercenaries enlisted. Among the participants in the war against Naples was Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, the future Pope Julius II, well acquainted with the Swiss, having been Bishop of Lausanne years earlier; the expedition failed, in part thanks to new alliances made by Alexander VI against the French. When Cardinal della Rovere became Pope Julius II in 1503, he asked the Swiss Diet to provide him with a constant corps of 200 Swiss mercenaries; this was made possible through the financing of the German merchants from Augsburg, Bavaria and Jacob Fugger, who had invested in the Pope and saw it fit to protect their investment.
In September 1505, the first contingent of 150 soldiers started their march towards Rome, under the command of Kaspar von Silenen, entered the city on 22 January 1506, today given as the official date of the Guard's foundation."The Swiss see the sad situation of the Church of God, Mother of Christianity, realize how grave and dangerous it is that any tyrant, avid for wealth, can assault with impunity, the common Mother of Christianity," declared Huldrych Zwingli, a Swiss Catholic who became a Protestant reformer. Pope Julius II granted them the title "Defenders of the Church's freedom"; the force has varied in size over the years and has been disbanded. Its most significant hostile engagement was on 6 May 1527, when 147 of the 189 Guards, including their commander, died fighting the troops of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in the stand of the Swiss Guard during the Sack of Rome in order to allow Clement VII to escape through the Passetto di Borgo, escorted by the other 42 guards; the last stand battlefield is located on the left side of St Peter's Basilica, close to the Campo Santo Teutonico.
Clement VII was forced to replace the Swiss Guard by a contingent of 200 German mercenaries. Ten years under Pope Paul III, the Swiss Guard was reinstated, under commander Jost von Meggen. After the end of the Italian Wars, the Swiss Guard ceased to be used as a military combat unit in the service of the pope and its role became that of the protection of the person of the pope and of a ceremonial guard. However, twelve members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard of Pius V served as part of the Swiss Guard of admiral Marcantonio Colonna in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571; the office of commander of the Papal Guard came to be a special honour in the Catholic part of the Swiss Confederacy. It became associated with the leading family of Lucerne, Pfyffer von Altishofen. Between 1652 and 1847, nine out a total of ten commanders were members of this family. In 1798, commander Franz Alois Pfyffer von Altishofen went into exile with the deposed Pius VI. After the death of the pope on 29 August 1799, the Swiss Guard was disbanded and only reinstated by Pius VII in 1801.
In 1808, Rome was again captured by the French and the guard was disbanded again. Pius VII was exiled to Fontainebleau; the guard was reinstated under the same commander, Karl Leodegar Pfyffer von Altishofen, when the pope returned from exile in 1814. The guard was disbanded yet again in 1848, when Pius IX fled to Gaeta, but was reinstated when the pope returned to Rome in the following year. In the 19th century, the Swiss Guard declined into a purely ceremonial body with low standards. Guards in the Vatican were "Swiss" only in name born in Rome to parents of Swiss descent and speaking the Roman Trastevere dialect; the guards were trained for ceremonial parade, kept only a few obsolete rifles in store and wore civilian dress when drilling or in barracks. Administration, accommodation and organization were neglected and the unit numbered only about 90 men out of an authorized establishment of 133; the modern Swiss Guard is the product of the reforms pursued by Jules Repond, command
Crime in Vatican City
Crime in the Vatican City consists of purse snatching, pick-pocketing and shoplifting by tourists. The tourist foot-traffic in St. Peter's Square is one of the main locations for pickpockets in Vatican City; the Vatican's small size results in a few statistical oddities. There are 18 million visitors to the state each year, the most common crime is petty theft — purse snatching, pick-pocketing and shoplifting, perpetrated — and suffered — by outsiders. Based on a population of 455 in 1992, the 397 civil offences in that year represent a crime rate of 0.87 crimes per capita, with 608 penal offences or 1.33 per capita. The Corpo della Gendarmeria dello Stato della Città del Vaticano is the gendarmerie, or police and security force, of Vatican City and the extraterritorial properties of the Holy See; the corps is responsible for security, public order, border control, traffic control, criminal investigation, other general police duties in Vatican City including providing security for the pope outside of Vatican City.
The corps has 130 personnel and is a part of the Security and Civil Defence Services Department, an organ of the Governorate of Vatican City. In accordance with article 3 of the 1929 Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy, St. Peter's Square, although part of the Vatican City State, is patrolled by the Italian police, up to but not including the steps leading to the basilica. Article 22 of the Lateran Treaty provides that the Italian government, when requested by the Holy See, seeks prosecution and detention of criminal suspects, at the expense of the Vatican; the Vatican has no prison system, apart from a few cells for pre-trial detention. People sentenced to imprisonment by the Vatican serve time in Italian prisons, with costs covered by the Vatican. In 1969, the Vatican state abolished capital punishment, it had been envisaged in legislation the Vatican adopted in 1929 based on Italian law, but the power was never exercised. A few major criminal events have occurred in recent decades within Vatican territory.
On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II suffered an assassination attempt by Mehmet Ali Ağca. This episode led to a much stronger emphasis on the Swiss Guard's non-ceremonial roles; this has included enhanced training in small arms. The small arms are the same as those used in the Swiss army. On May 4, 1998, the Swiss Guard experienced one of its greatest scandals for over 100 years when the commander of the Guard, Alois Estermann, was murdered in unclear circumstances in Vatican City. According to the official Vatican version and his wife, Gladys Meza Romero, were killed by the young Swiss Guard Cédric Tornay, who committed suicide. Estermann had been named commander of the Swiss Guard the same day; the Vatican Bank was Banco Ambrosiano's main share-holder. Father Paul Marcinkus, head of the Institute for Religious Works from 1971 to 1989, was indicted in Italy in 1981 as an accessory in the $3.5 billion collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, one of the major post-war financial scandals. Banco Ambrosiano was accused of laundering drug money for the Sicilian Mafia.
The Vatican leaks scandal is a scandal involving leaked Vatican documents exposing corruption. The scandal first came to light in January 2012, when Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi published letters from Carlo Maria Viganò the second ranked Vatican administrator to the pope, in which he begged not to be transferred for having exposed alleged corruption that cost the Holy See millions in higher contract prices. Viganò was named Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. Paolo Gabriele, the papal butler, was indicted by Vatican magistrates on 13 August 2012 for aggravated theft. On 6 October, Gabriele was found to be guilty, was sentenced to a reduced sentence of 18 months. Gabriele was ordered to pay legal expenses. However, in a departure from the usual arrangement that sends convicted prisoners to serve time in an Italian prison, Gabriele served his sentence in a detention cell inside the Vatican police barracks, he was pardoned by Pope Benedict XVI on 22 December 2012. Index of Vatican City-related articles
Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City
The Gendarmerie Corps of Vatican City State is the gendarmerie, or police and security force, of Vatican City and the extraterritorial properties of the Holy See. The 130-member corps is led by an Inspector General Domenico Giani, who replaced the long-serving Camillo Cibin in June 2006. In 1816, after the dissolution of the Napoleonic empire, Pope Pius VII founded the Papal Carabinieri Corps for the service of the Papal States. In 1849, under Pope Pius IX, it was renamed, first as the Papal Velites Regiment, as the Papal Gendarmerie Corps, it was charged with ensuring public security, passed from dependence on the Ministry of the Army to dependence on the Cardinal Secretary of State. It took an active part in the battles that led to the complete conquest of the Papal States by the victorious Kingdom of Italy. After the capture of Rome in 1870, a small group of members of the Corps continued to serve in the papal residence and the gardens. In 1929, the force was expanded to deal with its duties in the newly founded Vatican City State and in the buildings and other areas over which the Holy See had extraterritorial rights.
When in 1970 Pope Paul VI abolished all the military bodies at his service except the Swiss Guards, the Gendarmerie was transformed into a Central Security Office, with the duties of protecting the Pope, defending Vatican City, providing police and security services within its territory. Its name was changed in 1991 to Security Corps of Vatican City State and in 2002 to Gendarmerie Corps of Vatican City State; the corps is responsible for security, public order, border control, traffic control, criminal investigation, other general police duties in Vatican City. The Vatican Gendarmerie includes two special units, the Rapid Intervention Group and an anti-sabotage unit. Since 2000 an operations and control room, staffed 24 hours a day, coordinates the response of the Vatican security services in the case of an emergency; the Interpol National Central Bureau for Vatican City, tasked with collecting and sharing relevant information on crime and security with Interpol, an organisation of which Vatican City is a full member since 2008, is part of the Vatican Gendarmerie.
While the protection of the Pope's person is the Swiss Guard's responsibility, the gendarmes ensure public order at the audiences and ceremonies at which he is present. In Italian territory and in other countries, this is done in liaison with the local police authorities. To qualify for enrollment as a gendarme, a person must be an unmarried male between the ages of 21 to 24 of good health and a practising Catholic. There are minimum requirements of height and education; the Gendarmerie's patron saint is Saint Michael the Archangel. Since 1977, the oratory of San Pellegrino in Vaticano serves as the chapel of the Gendarmerie; the church served as the chapel of the Pontifical Swiss Guard. The Band of the Gendarmerie serves as the official marching band of Vatican City; the Commandant of the Gendarmerie Corps is head of the Directorate of Security and Civil Protection Services, which oversees the Vatican fire brigade. Security in Vatican City is provided by the Pontifical Swiss Guard, a military unit of the Holy See, not Vatican City State.
The Swiss Guard are responsible for the security of the Pope and all papal buildings. The Swiss Guard have maintained a centuries long tradition of carrying swords and spears, unlike the Gendarmerie Corps; the Gendarmerie is equipped with the Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol in 9 mm Parabellum as the standard issue weapon. They have more powerful weapons, such as the Beretta M12 and the Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine gun, a weapon used by the Italian police. Against possible riots, they are supplied with batons, pepper sprays and tear gas. For the elite-unit Rapid Intervention Group, members are equipped with the Carbon 15 carbine and Heckler & Koch FABARM FP6 shotguns. In September 2012, the Gendarmerie was equipped with one Kangoo Maxi ZE electric car; the Gendarmerie recently received a pair of Ducati police motorbikes. Before 1970, the 180 Pontifical Gendarmes wore elaborate ceremonial uniforms of 19th-century origin; these included bearskin headdresses with red plumes, black coatees with white-fringed epaulettes, white doeskin breeches and knee-high riding boots.
In service dress bicornes and blue trousers were substituted. The present-day Vatican City gendarmes wear dark blue modern police uniforms. Crime in Vatican City Index of Vatican City-related articlesSwiss Guards Papal Army Military of Vatican City Noble Guard Palatine Guard Pontifical Swiss Guard Papal Zouaves Corsican Guard Official website
The Ostrogothic Kingdom the Kingdom of Italy, was established by the Ostrogoths in Italy and neighbouring areas from 493 to 553. In Italy the Ostrogoths, led by Theoderic the Great and replaced Odoacer, a Germanic soldier, erstwhile-leader of the foederati in Northern Italy, the de facto ruler of Italy, who had deposed the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Romulus Augustulus, in 476. Under Theoderic, its first king, the Ostrogothic kingdom reached its zenith, stretching from modern France in the west into modern Serbia in the southeast. Most of the social institutions of the late Western Roman Empire were preserved during his rule. Theodoric called himself Gothorum Romanorumque rex, demonstrating his desire to be a leader for both peoples. Starting in 535, the Eastern Roman Empire invaded Italy under Justinian I; the Ostrogothic ruler at that time, could not defend the kingdom and was captured when the capital Ravenna fell. The Ostrogoths rallied around a new leader and managed to reverse the conquest, but were defeated.
The last king of the Ostrogothic Kingdom was Teia. The Ostrogoths were the eastern branch of the Goths, they settled and established a powerful state in Dacia, but during the late 4th century, they came under the dominion of the Huns. After the collapse of the Hunnic empire in 454, large numbers of Ostrogoths were settled by Emperor Marcian in the Roman province of Pannonia as foederati. Unlike most other foederati formations, the Goths were not absorbed into the structure and traditions of the Roman military but retained a strong identity and cohesion of their own. In 460, during the reign of Leo I, because the payment of annual sums had ceased, they ravaged Illyricum. Peace was concluded in 461, whereby the young Theoderic Amal, son of Theodemir of the Amals, was sent as a hostage to Constantinople, where he received a Roman education. In previous years, a large number of Goths, first under Aspar and under Theodoric Strabo, had entered service in the Roman army and were a significant political and military power in the court of Constantinople.
The period 477-483 saw a complex three-way struggle among Theoderic the Amal, who had succeeded his father in 474, Theodoric Strabo, the new Eastern Emperor Zeno. In this conflict, alliances shifted and large parts of the Balkans were devastated by it. In the end, after Strabo's death in 481, Zeno came to terms with Theoderic. Parts of Moesia and Dacia ripensis were ceded to the Goths, Theoderic was named magister militum praesentalis and consul for 484. A year Theoderic and Zeno fell out, again Theoderic's Goths ravaged Thrace, it was that the thought occurred to Zeno and his advisors to kill two birds with one stone, direct Theoderic against another troublesome neighbor of the Empire - the Italian kingdom of Odoacer. In 476, leader of the foederati in the West, had staged a coup against the rebellious magister militum Orestes, seeking to have his son Romulus Augustulus recognized as Western Emperor in place of Emperor Julius Nepos. Orestes had reneged on the promise of land in Italy for Odoacer's troops, a pledge made to ensure their neutrality in his attack on Nepos.
After executing Orestes and putting the teenage usurper in internal exile, Odoacer paid nominal allegiance to Nepos while operating autonomously, having been raised to the rank of patrician by Zeno. Odoacer retained the Roman administrative system, cooperated with the Roman Senate, his rule was efficient and successful, he evicted the Vandals from Sicily in 477, in 480 he occupied Dalmatia after the murder of Julius Nepos. An agreement was reached between Zeno and Theoderic, stipulating that Theoderic, if victorious, was to rule in Italy as the emperor's representative. Theoderic with his people set out from Moesia in the autumn of 488, passed through Dalmatia and crossed the Julian Alps into Italy in late August 489; the first confrontation with the army of Odoacer was at the river Isonzo on August 28. Odoacer was defeated and withdrew towards Verona, where a month another battle was fought, resulting in a bloody, but crushing, Gothic victory. Odoacer fled to his capital at Ravenna, while the larger part of his army under Tufa surrendered to the Goths.
Theoderic sent Tufa and his men against Odoacer, but he changed his allegiance again and returned to Odoacer. In 490, Odoacer was thus able to campaign against Theoderic, take Milan and Cremona and besiege the main Gothic base at Ticinum. At that point, the Visigoths intervened, the siege of Ticinum was lifted, Odoacer was decisively defeated at the river Adda on 11 August 490. Odoacer fled again to Ravenna, while the Senate and many Italian cities declared themselves for Theoderic; the Goths now turned to besiege Ravenna, but since they lacked a fleet and the city could be resupplied by sea, the siege could be endured indefinitely, despite privations. It was not until 492 that Theoderic was able to procure a fleet and capture Ravenna's harbours, thus cutting off communication with the outside world; the effects of this appeared six months when, with the mediation of the city's bishop, negotiations started between the two parties. An agreement was reached on 25 February 493. A banquet was organised in order to celebrate this treaty.
It was at this banquet, on March 15, that Theoderic, after making a toast, killed Odoacer with his own hands. A general massacre of Odoacer's soldiers and supporters followed. Theoderic and his Goths were now masters of Italy. Like Odoacer, Theoderic was ostensibly a patricius and subject of
From the Italian unification and as Rome in 1871 became the capital of the new Kingdom of Italy, the Holy See lacked a territory, which it earlier had enjoyed since the early Middle Ages. This international-Catholic problem was solved through the 1929 Lateran Treaty; the Lateran Treaty was one of the Lateran Pacts of 1929 or Lateran Accords, agreements made in 1929 between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See, settling the "Roman Question". They are named after the Lateran Palace, where they were signed on 11 February 1929; the Italian parliament ratified them on 7 June 1929. It recognized Vatican City as an independent state, with the Italian government, at the time led by Benito Mussolini as prime minister, agreeing to give the Roman Catholic Church financial compensation for the loss of the Papal States. In 1947, the Lateran Treaty was recognized in the Constitution of Italy as regulating the relations between the state and the Catholic Church; the Lateran Pacts are presented as three treaties: a 27-article treaty of conciliation, a three-article financial convention, a 45-article concordat.
However, the website of the Holy See presents the pacts as two, making the financial convention an annex of the treaty of conciliation. In this presentation, the pacts consisted of two documents, the first of which had four annexes: A political treaty recognising the full sovereignty of the Holy See in the State of Vatican City, thereby established, a document accompanied by the annexes: A plan of the territory of the Vatican City-State, with an area of 108.7 acres A list and plans of the buildings with extraterritorial privilege and exemption from expropriation and taxes A financial convention agreed on as a definitive settlement of the claims of the Holy See following the loss in 1870 of its territories and property. A concordat regulating relations between the Catholic Church and the Italian state During the unification of Italy in the mid-19th century, the Papal States resisted incorporation into the new nation as all the other Italian countries, except for San Marino, joined it; the nascent Kingdom of Italy invaded and occupied Romagna in 1860, leaving only Latium in the Pope's domains.
Latium, including Rome itself, was occupied and annexed in 1870. For the following sixty years, relations between the Papacy and the Italian government were hostile, the status of the Pope became known as the "Roman Question". Negotiations for the settlement of the Roman Question began in 1926 between the government of Italy and the Holy See, culminated in the agreements of the Lateran Pacts, signed—the Treaty says—for King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy by Benito Mussolini, Prime Minister and Head of Government, for Pope Pius XI by Pietro Gasparri, Cardinal Secretary of State, on 11 February 1929, it was ratified on 7 June 1929. The agreements were signed in hence the name by which they are known; the agreements included a political treaty which created the state of the Vatican City and guaranteed full and independent sovereignty to the Holy See. The Pope was pledged to perpetual neutrality in international relations and to abstention from mediation in a controversy unless requested by all parties.
In the first article of the treaty, Italy reaffirmed the principle established in the 4 March 1848 Statute of the Kingdom of Italy, that "the Catholic and Roman Religion is the only religion of the State". The attached financial agreement was accepted as settlement of all the claims of the Holy See against Italy arising from the loss of temporal power of the Papal States in 1870; the sum thereby given to the Holy See was less than Italy declared it would pay under the terms of the Law of Guarantees of 1871, by which the Italian government guaranteed to Pope Pius IX and his successors the use of, but not sovereignty over, the Vatican and Lateran Palaces and a yearly income of 3,250,000 lire as indemnity for the loss of sovereignty and territory. The Holy See, on the grounds of the need for manifested independence from any political power in its exercise of spiritual jurisdiction, had refused to accept the settlement offered in 1871, the Popes thereafter until the signing of the Lateran Treaty considered themselves prisoners in the Vatican, a small, limited area inside Rome.
To commemorate the successful conclusion of the negotiations, Mussolini commissioned the Via della Conciliazione, which would symbolically link the Vatican City to the heart of Rome. The Constitution of the Italian Republic, adopted in 1947, states that relations between the State and the Catholic Church "are regulated by the Lateran Treaties". In 1984, an agreement was signed. Among other things, both sides declared: "The principle of the Catholic religion as the sole religion of the Italian State referred to by the Lateran Pacts, shall be considered to be no longer in force"; the Church's position as the sole state-supported religion of Italy was ended, replacing the state financing with a personal income tax called the otto per mille, to which other religious groups and non-Christian have access. As of 2013, there are ten other religious groups with access; the revised concordat regulated the conditions under which civil effe
Holy See Press Office
The Holy See Press Office publishes the official news of the activities of the Pope and of the various departments of the Roman Curia. All speeches, documents, as well as the statements issued by the Director, are published in their entirety; the press office operates every day in Italian, although texts in other languages are available. Since August 1st 2016 the Director of the Holy See Press Office and Pope's Spokesman is the American journalist Greg Burke; the former head of the press office, with the title director, is Father Federico Lombardi, a Jesuit, while the director before Lombardi was the Spanish layman and medical doctor Joaquín Navarro-Valls. On Saturday, June 27, 2015, Pope Francis, through an apostolic letter done motu proprio established the Secretariat for Communications in the Roman Curia. On December 21, 2015, Pope Francis appointed Dr. Greg Burke the Communications Advisor for the Section for General Affairs of the Vatican's Secretariat of State of the Holy See, as Deputy Director of the Press Office.
Following Burke's appointment as director in 2016, Spanish journalist Paloma García Ovejero took over as vice director, making her the first woman to hold that position. It was announced that both Burke and García Ovejero, both laymen, would begin their positions on 1 August, 2016. On 31 December 2018, both García Ovejero announced their resignations. Vatican - Accreditation of journalists and Media operators Vatican - Daily Bulletin Holy See Index of Vatican City-related articles Official site
History of the papacy
The history of the papacy, the office held by the pope as head of the Roman Catholic Church, according to Catholic doctrine, spans from the time of Peter to the present day. During the Early Church, the bishops of Rome enjoyed no temporal power until the time of Constantine. After the fall of Rome, the papacy was influenced by the temporal rulers of the surrounding Italian Peninsula. Over time, the papacy consolidated its territorial claims to a portion of the peninsula known as the Papal States. Thereafter, the role of neighboring sovereigns was replaced by powerful Roman families during the saeculum obscurum, the Crescentii era, the Tusculan Papacy. From 1048 to 1257, the papacy experienced increasing conflict with the leaders and churches of the Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire; the latter culminated in the East–West Schism, dividing the Western Church and Eastern Church. From 1257–1377, the pope, though the bishop of Rome, resided in Viterbo and Perugia, Avignon; the return of the popes to Rome after the Avignon Papacy was followed by the Western Schism: the division of the western church between two and, for a time, three competing papal claimants.
The Renaissance Papacy is known for its artistic and architectural patronage, forays into European power politics, theological challenges to papal authority. After the start of the Protestant Reformation, the Reformation Papacy and Baroque Papacy led the Catholic Church through the Counter-Reformation; the popes during the Age of Revolution witnessed the largest expropriation of wealth in the church's history, during the French Revolution and those that followed throughout Europe. The Roman Question, arising from Italian unification, resulted in the loss of the Papal States and the creation of Vatican City. Catholics and the Orthodox recognize the pope as the successor to Saint Peter, recognize him as the first bishop of Rome. Official declarations of the Church speak of the popes as holding within the college of the bishops a position analogous to that held by Peter within the "college" of the Apostles, namely Prince of the Apostles, of which the college of the Bishops, a distinct entity, is viewed by some to be the successor.
Many deny that Peter and those claimed to be his immediate successors had universally-recognized supreme authority over all the early churches, citing instead that the Bishop of Rome was, is, "first among equals" as stated by the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church in the 2nd century A. D. and again in the 21st century. However, what that form should take is a matter of debate and contention, to this day, between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, which were one Church for at least the first seven ecumenical councils and until the formal split over Papal primacy in 1054 AD. Many of the bishops of Rome in the first three centuries of the Christian era are obscure figures. Most of Peter's successors in the first three centuries following his life suffered martyrdom along with members of their flock in periods of persecution; the legend surrounding the victory of Constantine I in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge relates his vision of the Chi Rho and the text in hoc signo vinces in the sky, reproducing this symbol on the shields of his troops.
The following year and Licinius proclaimed the toleration of Catholicism with the Edict of Milan, in 325, Constantine convened and presided over the First Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council. None of this, has much to do with the pope, who did not attend the Council. Moreover, between 324 and 330, Constantine moved the capital of the Roman empire from Rome to Byzantium, a former Greek city on the Bosporus; the power of Rome was transferred to Byzantium which in 330 became Constantinople and today is Istanbul. The "Donation of Constantine", an 8th-century forgery used to enhance the prestige and authority of popes, places the pope more centrally in the narrative of Constantinian Christianity; the legend of the Donation claims that Constantine offered his crown to Sylvester I, that Sylvester baptized Constantine. In reality, Constantine was baptized by Eusebius of an Arian bishop. Although the "Donation" never occurred, Constantine did hand over the Lateran Palace to the bishop of Rome, around 310 AD began the construction of Basilica of Constantine in Germany, called Aula Palatina.
Emperor Constantine erected the Old St. Peter's Basilica, or Constantinian Basilica, the current location of the current, Renaissance era, St. Peter's Basilica within the Vatican, on the place of St. Peter's burial, as held by the Catholic community of Rome, after his conversion to Catholicism; the Ostrogothic Papacy period ran from 493 to 537. The papal election of March 483 was the first to take place without the existence of a Western Roman emperor; the papacy was influenced by the Ostrogothic Kingdom, if the pope was not outright appointed by the Ostrogothic King. The selection and administration of popes during this period was influenced by Theodoric the Great and his successors Athalaric and Theodahad; this period terminated with Justinian I's conquest of Rome during the Gothic War, inaugurating the Byzantine Papacy. The role of the Ostrogoths became clear in the first schism, when, on November 22, 498, two men were elected pope; the subsequent triumph of Pope Symmachus over Antipope Laurentius is the first recorded example of simony in papal history.
Symmachus instituted the practice of popes naming their own successors