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A group of buildings in Rome, clustered around the palace of the Pope. The first to build a residence near the ancient Basilica of St. Peter was Pope Summachus (reigned 498-514). Through subsequent purchase the popes acquired possession of the entire Vatican Hill. The property now is the largest palace in the world. Only a small part is used for living quarters; most of the buildings serve the purpose of the arts and sciences, and the administration of Church affairs.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.