The head of the Apostolic Nunciature is called a nuncio, an ecclesiastical diplomatic title. A papal nuncio (officially known as an Apostolic nuncio) is a permanent diplomatic representative (head of diplomatic mission) of the Holy See to a state or international organization such as the Arab League, having the rank of an ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary, usually with the ecclesiastical rank of titular archbishop.
In addition, the nuncio serves as the liaison between the Holy See and the Church in that particular nation, supervising the diocesan episcopate (usually a national conference of bishops which has its own chairman, usually the highest-ranking (arch)bishop, especially if his seat carries the title of primate or he has individually been created a cardinal) and has an important role in the selection of bishops.
List of diplomatic posts of the Holy See
The Pope accredits diplomats with the following states and other subjects of international law (list as per January 2010):
Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Botswana, Cameroun, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Botswana, Congo (Republic of), Congo (Democratic Republic of), Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sénégal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, México, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela
Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Republic of China (Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam (Non-Resident), Yemen.
Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine
Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, East Timor, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu
- United Nations: the Holy See is represented by the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations at the UN headquarters in New York and also at the UN's European office in Geneva, who have the rank of apostolic nuncio.
- Of the entities having established diplomatic relations with, there is no representative only to the Order of Malta.
- There are sixteen countries with whom the Holy See still does not have relations.
- Nine of these are Muslim: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Comoros, the Maldives, Mauritania, Oman, and Somalia.
- Another four are run by communist regimes. These are the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Lao People's Democratic Republic, People's Republic of China, and Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
- The remaining four are Bhutan, Burma, South Sudan, and Tuvalu.
- Note: For nations with whom the Holy See has no diplomatic ties, an Apostolic Delegate is sent to serve as a liaison with the Roman Catholic Church in that nation, though not accredited to the government of the state. Apostolic delegates have the same ecclesiastical rank as nuncios, but have no formal diplomatic status, though in some countries they have some diplomatic privileges.
- Comoros; Mauritania; Somalia
- Jerusalem and Palestine; the Arabian Peninsula; Brunei; Laos; Myanmar/Burma; Viêt Nam
- the Americas:
- the Antilles (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, French Guyana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Saint Vincent and Grenadines)
- the Pacific Ocean
- Such as in Order of precedence.
- "The Holy See's Diplomatic Net. Latest Acquisition: Russia" (in Italian). Chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
- "Bilateral and Multilateral Relations of the Holy See". Vatican.va. 2007-05-31. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
- "Mission Impossible: Eject the Holy See from the United Nations". Chiesa Espresso online. 2007-08-21.
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- Diplomacy of the Holy See
- Diplomatic missions of the Holy See
- List of heads of the diplomatic missions of the Holy See