The Holy See in the Holy Land: History and the Present

Anton N. Dannenberg – Doctor of Philosophy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation. Prospect Vernadskogo 84, b. 6, Moscow, 119606. E-mail:
Petr I. Kasatkin - Ph.D of political science, associate professor of the Department of World Political Processes, MGIMO-MFA of Russia. Prospect Vernadskogo 76, Moscow, 119454. E-mail:
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DOI 10.24833/2071-8160-2018-2-59-185-200 (Read the article in PDF)

The article represents a consistent study of historical and of current political presence of the Holy See in the territory of Palestine and Israel as well as of Vatican’s position on some problematic issues in the region from the perspective of the state’s foreign policy priorities. Special attention is paid to the Vatican’s stance on the US actions regarding the relocation of the Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and the impact of these events on the Vatican-American and Vatican-Israeli relations. The study is of relevance as the understanding of the abovementioned issues can be useful in finding non-standard and network formats of conflict resolution. Moreover, the analysis of the scientific discourse revealed that Russian researchers do not pay enough attention to activity of the Holy See on the international arena. Thus, the article is to fill the abovementioned gap in the scientific discourse, being the first comprehensive study of the Holy See’s presence in the region. The authors conclude that Vatican’s interest in the Holy Land intensified after the First World War. At the same time most activities were suspended during the Second World War. The policy of the Holy See towards the region has undergone changes since the Second Vatican Council. The article states that the Vatican conducts gradual, but ambiguous policy towards the countries in the Middle East, focusing on the protection of the Christian population. The article also examines the reaction of the Holy See to US relocating the Embassy to Jerusalem, stating negative attitude of the Holy See towards the United States.

Key words: Holy See, Vatican, Palestine, Israel, papal diplomacy, Middle East, Catholic church, Pope Francis.

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