The Secular Heritage of the Anglican Patriarchate
See of St. Stephen, Imperial Roman Church

Frequently Asked Questions
Brief History of the Anglican Patriarchate
About the Anglican Patriarchate
Latino-Germanic and Byzantine-Slavic Heritage
Spanish Heritage
Italian Heritage
Message from the Archfather

The Anglican Patriarchate and Anglo-Roman Rite
An Intangible Cultural Heritage. Click here to learn more.

Encyclical of Pope Saint Pius IX on Temporal Sovereignty

National vehicle decal for the Stato Pontificio

The Stato Pontificio (Pontifical States, sometimes known as the Papal States or States of the Church) were effectively a construct of the Holy Roman Empire. However, territorial claims of the Church as eventual heirs to the Roman Empire date back to the Christian Roman Empire under Constantine the Great. As the Western Roman Empire collapsed, sovereignty passed to the Pope, whose rule was at times actual and at times titular. The actual size of the territory varied. During the era of Byzantine, for example, the territory ruled by the Pope was similar to the present-day region of Latium.

Charlemagne, Holy Roman Emperor

After the Frankish conquest of Italy under Pepin the Short, King of the Franks, the Stato Pontificio was formally established in 754. Under Pepin's son Charlemagne, the papal territory expanded to include Ravenna, the Pentapolis, parts of Benevento, Tuscany, Corsica, Lombardy, and assorted cities. On Christmas Day in 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne as Emperor of the Romans, beginning the Holy Roman Empire.

Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor

Dispute arose over administrative control between the emperors and the popes. As the original Holy Roman Empire became subdivided among the grandchildren of Charlemagne, both imperial and papal power in Italy declined, being supplanted by Roman nobility. In the mid-10th century, the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I re-conquered northern Italy and guaranteed the independence of the Stato Pontificio. Unfortunately conflict over power continued for two centuries, with disputes even over the right of free administration of the church without imperial interference. The result of that Investiture Controversy was in favour of the Church, and thus the Stato Pontificio grew in temporal power and importance. Following the Hohenstaufen dynasty, the Treaty of Venice made official the independence of Papal States from the Holy Roman Empire in 1177. The Imperial Kingdom of Italy, while officially a single entity, was effectively a patchwork of independent principalities, including the Stato Pontificio.


Avignon Papacy

An interesting period in Church history existed from 1305 to 1378, during which the popes lived in a papal enclave of Avignon in the Provence region. It was also known as the "Babylonian Captivity." The city of Avignon was added to the Stato Pontificio and remained a papal territory for about 400 years until the French Revolution.

Clement V, Pope-Prince of Rome

During the Avignon Papacy, papal abscence in Rome was exploited by local despots, such as in Bologna, Forlì, Faenza, and Rimini - though they obtained papal approval. Ferrara was ruled for some time by a vicar, Robert, King of Naples, appointed by Pope Clement V. Local unrest resulted in a return of the previously-ruling House of Este, which was finally recognised by Pope John XXII.

Gregory XI, Pope-Prince of Rome

Within Rome, the ancient and famous Roman families of the Orsini and the Colonna competed for dominance, resulting in a divided city and effective anarchy. A failed attempt at establishing a democracy took place. All this underscored the problems of the absent papacy. Pope Urban V returned to Italy in 1367, but it was ineffective, and he returned to Avignon. The final ruling Avignon pope was Gregory XI, who returned to Rome in 1376. A brief period of Avignon counter-claimants to the papacy resulted.



St. Julius II, Pope-Prince of Rome

The Renaissance was a time of great expansion for papal territory and prestige as the popes sought to ensure Church independence from the ambitious princes and kings. Two of the most significant Pope-Princes of Rome were Alexander VI and St. Julius II (often known as the "Warrior Pope"), who made the papacy a key ruling authority in Italy. The Stato Pontificio was involved in a number of wars, and Julius II personally led troops in battle.

The Imperial Roman Cross, as used by the Imperial Roman Church

Baroque and Reformation

The successor of St. Julius II, St. Leo X (first Florentine Archfather), is often considered the first Baroque Pope. The Baroque was the Catholic response to the Protestant Reformation, which began in 1517. During this time, In 1527, before the Holy Roman Empire fought the Protestants, troops of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V sacked Rome and imprisoned Pope Clement VII (Second Florentine Archfather). The Pontifical Swiss Guard, made permanent by Julius II, successfully defended Clement VII at the Castel Sant'Angelo from the imperial troops. It is for this reason that new Swiss Guards are sworn in on 6 May.

St. Leo X, Pope-Prince of Rome

During the Baroque, the temporal power of the Stato Pontificio grew. Parma and Piacenza became independent satellites under an illegitimate son of Pope Paul III. Eventually the Duchies of Ferrara and Urbino were added. At its height, the Stato Pontificio of the period included most of central Italy, part of the Romagna, and some areas in southern Italy.

Coat of arms of the Stato Pontificio

Napoleonic Empire and Kingdom of Italy

Following the French Revolution, French forces, under their new anti-church philosophy, began attacking papal territories. The French invasion of Italy took place in 1796. A Roman Republic was established, with Pope Pius VI going into exile in 1799. Napoleon Buonaparte was crowned emperor in 1804, with Pius VII in attendance. Pius VII returned to Rome, but Napoleon's French Empire annexed the Stato Pontificio in 1808-1809, establishing a Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy. After the end of the First French Empire, the Stato Pontificio was restored by the Congress of Vienna. Thus it would continued until Pope Pius IX.


The Italian Unification under the House of Savoy

Italian nationalism grew during the Napoleonic period, but the fall of the French Empire made such efforts moot. During the 1800s, the House of Savoy ruled the Kingdom of Sardegna-Piemonte in the north, the Habsburgs ruled Tuscany and large parts of northern Italy, and southern Italy and Sicily were under the Bourbons as the Kingdom of Two Sicilies. The Stato Pontificio was in the centre. Later in the 19th century, opposition to the Habsburgs and the papacy grew.

Pius IX, Pope-Prince of Rome

Nationalist and liberal revolutions took place in 1848. In 1849, a new Roman Republic was declared, with the formerly-sympathetic Pope St. Pius IX fleeing the city. The revolution was eventually suppressed thanks to help from the French.

The Austro-Sardinian War took place in 1859, Sardegna-Piemonte annexed Lombardia. After Giuseppe Garibaldi overthrew the Bourbon monarchy in the south, the House of Savoy asked French Emperor Napoléon III to seek permission to send troops through the Pontifical States to take control of the south. The papacy consented provided that Rome was left unmolested.

In 1860, taking advantage of rebellion against Papal rule, Sardegna-Piedmonte conquered the eastern two-thirds of the Pontifical States. A new, unified Kingdom of Italy was declared. Rome was declared the capital of the new Kingdom, despite not actually controlling Rome. In fact, a French garrison protected Pope St. Pius IX.

Napoléon III, Emperor of the French

In 1870, the Franco-Prussian War resulted in Napoléon III removing his garrison from Rome. Subsequently the Second French Empire collapsed, and Rome was left defenseless.

King Victor Emmanuel II attempted diplomatic means to take control, but the pope refused. Italy declared war on the Pope on 10 September 1870. The Italian Army invaded the papal territory and advanced toward Rome, which was soon under seige. Pope Pius IX ordered the papal armies to put up more than a token resistance for the reason of emphasising that Italy was annexing Rome by force and not consent. Yet, the orders of Pius IX were limited to avoid bloodshed. The end of the Stato Pontificio as a functioning temporal state came on in October 1870 after a plebiscite.

The Pope refused any measure that attempted to make him a subject of the new Kingdom of Italy. Instead he referred to himself as the "Prisoner of the Vatican," confining himself to the Vatican Hill. Pius IX continued sovereign functions, including diplomatic relations, which are guaranteed by the higher church law as belonging to the papacy. The Lateran Treaty with Italy, negotiated by Benito Mussolini, created the now-familiar State of the Vatican City, restoring a small sovereign territory to the Holy See.


Titular Sovereigns of the Stato Pontificio

Following the fall of the Stato Pontificio, each pope has remained the de jure (titular) sovereign of the Stato Pontificio. From 1929, all popes have been also the de facto sovereigns of the Vatican City. Following Benedict XVI, the titular and historic secular authority passed to the Anglican Patriarchate (See of St. Stephen, Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church, Imperial Roman Church) by right of Rome and Florence.

Titles of the Papa-Prince of Rome.

Flag of the modern titular Stato Pontificio

Imperial flag of the Stato Pontificio Romano

The modern titular Stato Pontificio is an ecclesiastical and history entity and is the historic representative of over 400 million people worldwide. It also includes much more territory than the earlier Stato Pontificio, having combined the additional Holy Roman Empire territories that form the patrimony of the Patriarchate. Those historic and titular states include the Kingdom of Etruria (Tuscany), the Imperial Kingdom of Italy, the Kingdom of Westphalia, the Electorates of Würzburg, Trier, and Mainz, the Principality of Reichenberg, the County of Valais, the Merovingian County of Sainte Animie, Patriarchal Spanish Legations in the Americas, and other states with origins in the Holy Roman Empire. Throughout history, the secular physical boundaries of nations within the traditional territories of the Patriarchate and Stato Pontificio have expanded and contracted. However, the Patriarchate and Stato Pontificio remain constant in their historic roles as world community church leaders dedicated to historical preservation, pastoral and diplomatic advocacy, and the spiritual/physical well-being of people.

Standard of the Papa-Prince of the Romans

Flag of the Papa-Prince of the Romans

The Imperial Roman Church is defined as the Anglican Patriarchate and the churches of all Bishops recognised by the Patriarchate. Bishops of the Imperial Roman Church need not be of the Anglican Rite, but may be of any traditional Catholic Rite. Angelo Cardinal Sodano, as Secretary of State and acting on behalf and in the name of Benedict XVI, confirmed the historic rights and privileges of the Imperial Roman Church (Anglican Patriarchate of Rome and Gallo-Russo-Byzantine Catholicate), including as an independent and sovereign Catholic jurisdiction. Today the Anglican Patriarchate serves as global network of Christian missions. It has a particular focus on chaplaincy service, helping those who are often forgotten, vulnerable, and in need.

Standard of the Pontifical Household

The personal title of Archfather has common ancient origins with the title of Patriarch and Pope and is among the traditional titles of Popes. Patriarchs are found in the Old Testament and eventually among Christian clergy. The title of Pope was used first for the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria and later also for the Bishop of Rome. Today the title of Archfather refers exclusively to the Florentine Archfather, Coadjutor and Prince of Rome. (Read more about the Petrine Office, Leonine Office, and the Anglican Patriarchate.)

See also the heritage of the Independent Catholic Church International,
Anglican Communion, Old Catholic See of Utrecht,
and historic agreements with the Orthodox Patriarchates of Antioch and Alexandria.

Frequently Asked Questions

Brief History of the Anglican Patriarchate

About the Anglican Patriarchate

Latino-Germanic and Byzantine-Slavic Heritage

Spanish Heritage

Italian Heritage

Message from the Archfather









Il Patriarcato Anglicano (Chiesa Romano Cattolica di Rito Anglicano) è una sovranità ecclesiastica per diritto di Roma con un governo indipendente a stato consultivo speciale col Consiglio Economico e Sociale delle Nazioni Unite. Inoltre, discendiamo dalla Sede di Utrecht, a cui fu concessa l'autonomia nel 1145 da Papa Eugenio III e confermata nel 1520 da Papa San Leone X nella Bolla Debitum Pastoralis, questo diritto divenne noto come Privilegio Leonino. Come l'unico successore di Papa San Leone X e successore temporale di San Pietro Apostolo, il Patriarcato è pienamente cattolico e detiene la stessa autorit` canonica della Comunione Romana (Vaticano). Il Patriarcato è il successore ecclesiastico di Roma temporale, il patrimonio temporale dell'Impero Romano rivendicato storicamente di diritto del papato. La successione passò al Patriarcato dopo Benedetto XVI per diritto di Roma e Firenze, col Papa-Principe e Patriarca Anglicano di Roma con autorità papale come successore temporale di San Pietro, e il Papa-Vescovo di Roma come successore spirituale di San Pietro e de facto sovrano dello Stato della Città del Vaticano. Anche se amministrativamente indipendente, la Sede Apostolica del Patriarcato abbraccia come fratelli gli altri organismi cattolici e anglicani, come la Comunione Romana corrente (comunemente come la Chiesa Romano Cattolica), l'Ordinariato Anglicano, e la Comunione Anglicana. La Chiesa Romana Imperiale, il Patriarcato Anglicano e le chiese dei vescovi riconosciuti dal patriarcato. Anche se amministrativamente indipendente, la Sede Apostolic abbraccia come fratelli gli altri organismi cattolici e anglicani, come la Comunione Romana corrente (comunemente come la Chiesa Romano Cattolica), l'Ordinariato Anglicano, e la Comunione Anglicana. La Chiesa Romana Imperiale, il Patriarcato Anglicano e le chiese dei vescovi riconosciuti dal patriarcato. I governi delle moderne repubbliche di Italia, Germania, Francia, Svizzera, e gli Stati Uniti, e dei moderni regni di Gran Bretagna e Spagna, così come l'Unione Europea non sono affiliati al governo dello Stato Pontificio in esilio.

The Anglican Patriarchate (Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church) is an ecclesiastical sovereignty by right of Rome with an independent government in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Additionally, we descend from the See of Utrecht, which was granted autonomy in 1145 by Pope Eugene III and confirmed in 1520 by Pope St. Leo X in the Bull Debitum Pastoralis, this right becoming known as the Leonine Privilege. As the sole successor of Pope St. Leo X and temporal successor of St. Peter the Apostle, the Patriarchate is fully Catholic and holds the same canonical authority as the Roman Communion (Vatican). The Patriarchate is the ecclesiastical successor to temporal Rome, the temporal patrimony of the Roman Empire claimed historically by right of the papacy. The succession passed to the Patriarchate after Benedict XVI by right of Rome and Florence, with the Papa-Prince and Anglican Patriarch of Rome with papal authority as temporal successor of St. Peter, and the Pope-Bishop of Rome as spiritual successor of St. Peter and de facto sovereign of the Vatican City-State. Although administratively independent, the Apostolic See of the Patriarchate embraces as brethren other Catholic and Anglican bodies, such as the current Roman Communion (commonly referred to as the Roman Catholic Church), the Anglican Ordinariate, and the Anglican Communion. The Imperial Roman Church is defined as the Anglican Patriarchate and the churches of all Bishops recognised by the Apostolic See. The governments of the modern republics of Italy, German, France, Switzerland, and the United States, and of the modern kingdoms of Great Britain and Spain, as well as the European Union are not affiliated with the Stato Pontificio government in exile.






















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