Papal Nuncio Vatican

Papal Nuncio: Another Word for Papal Ambassador or Not?

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If you google “papal nuncio definition” you will generally find out that the Papal Nuncio is more or less the Vatican’s equivalent to a diplomatic ambassador to the state in which he operates.

He is also the representative of the Pope on foreign soil, and as a result his job is to promote good relations between the Papacy, the Vatican and the outside world.

He also acts as a sort of big brother relationship with the bishops in his host country, and acts as a guide and safeguard of rules and regulations.

Let’s check out the duties of a Vatican ambassador in a bit more detail below.

What are the Papal Nuncio Duties?

Apostolic Nunciature the Holy See

Nuncio meaning – the word comes from the Latin nuntius which means messenger.

He is the highest ranked papal envoy and is loosely another word for papal ambassadorAs such, he has a range of duties that are quite standard in diplomatic service, but also special jobs of a more religious nature.

  • His main goal as head of the diplomatic mission is to foster good relations between the Vatican and the local state authorities
  • He is tasked to promote good working relations between other local church denominations and Catholic church
  • Approve or be in involved in the “intellecutal capital” of the bishops including arranging interviews for promotion or disciplinary by the Holy See
  • Assist the bishops in the country with advice and guidance
  • Reports out to the Pope on any issues facing the catholic church or population in the country

What Is the Difference Between a Papal Nuncio and an Apostolic Delegate?

An apostolic delegate is usually of the same rank within the catholic church as the papal nuncio, but does not have any diplomatic powers.

As such, they usually operate in areas with which the catholic church does not have diplomatic relations. This was the case for example before the United Kingdom introduced diplomatic relations with the catholic church.

Since the 20th century, there exists an apostolic nunciature of the Holy See even in the UK.

How to Address a Letter to a Papal Nuncio?

A Papal Nuncio is usually an archbishop, sometimes even a cardinal, and is an experienced Vatican City diplomat.

As the diplomat representing the country, they are entitled to use the title “His Excellency”.

Vatican City travel tips Tip – Address your letter in a respectful tone, as he has direct access to the Pope.

How Many Papal Nuncios are There?

There are currently over 100 Papal Nuncios. In fact, the number is calculated to be around 115 Papal Nunciatures.

Papal Nuncio Gabriele Giordano Caccia

Apostolic Nuncio for Vatican

Gabriele Giordana Caccia was previously Papal Nuncio to Lebanon and later the Philippines.

He entered the priesthood in the 1980s and has continually expanded his career. Because the position is extremely prestigious, it can lead to other even higher level jobs.

Giordano Caccia is now the permanent observer to the United Nations for the Holy See.

So even at this level, there is still a chance for a promotion!

Who Is the Papal Nuncio for The United States – Papal Nuncio USA

The apostolic nuncio to the United States is currently Christophe Pierre. Pierre is a French archbishop who has enjoyed previous diplomatic roles in Mexico, Haiti and Ghana.

The offices of the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States are located in Washington DC, so there is no Papal Nuncio New York office. There is also no apostolic delegate to the United States – that’s because there are formal diplomatic relations.

Pierre has had a very interesting career and has spent significant time in Africa. You can find the details about the Nunciature on their website.

Who Is The Papal Nuncio To Nigeria?

Mgr. Antonio Filipazzi

Antonio Guido Filipazzi is the current Papal Nuncio to Nigeria. He has been in the role since 2017, and was previously the Nuncio to Indonesia for over 6 years.

Filipazzi has had postings in Austria, Germany and Sri Lanka previously. Since his posting to Nigeria, the Vatican City has taken advantage of his location – he is also responsible for the post of permanent observer at the Economic Community of West African States.

You can read more about the Nigerian Nunciature, including contact information here.

Papal Nuncio UK


The papal nuncio in the UK has had an office since 1982. Prior to the establishment of full, ambassador level diplomatic relations, the position was covered by an apostolic delegate.

Interestingly, and due to the complex matters that exist between the position of Northern Ireland within the UK, the Nuncio is agreed to cover only the Great British territories, whilst Dublin covers Belfast and Northern Ireland.

So, it is really a Papal Nuncio of Great Britain, not the United Kingdom. The current papal nuncio to Great Britain is Claudio Gugerotti, who has a long and esteemed career specialising in the eastern church and languages.

As a result, he has been invaluable in service in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia.

Papal Nuncio Canada

The current Papal Nuncio in Canada

Canada transitioned from an apostolic delegate to a papal nuncio in 1969. Based in Ottawa, the nunciature is housed in a stately home.

The current nuncio is Archbishop Jurkovič, a Slovenian native who has had an impressive career in locations as diverse as the Ukraine, Korea and Uzbekistan.

Fluent in many languages including his native Slovenian, Italian, English, Russian, Spanish , German and French, he is a doctorate of Canon Law.

Information on the Canadian nunciature is comprehensive and can be accessed on their website.

Papal Nuncio To Ireland

He is responsible for not only the sovereign nation of Ireland as well as for Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.

Since 2017, the position has been held by Jude Thaddeus Okolo. Born in Nigeria, Okolo has had a career that spans multiple continents including positions in Australia, Switzerland and the Caribbean.

Okolo speaks an impressive 8 languages! More details on the nunciature can be accessed on the website here.

Papal Nuncio Albania

Luidzi Bonaci

The nunciature in Albania is relatively new – established in 1991. Prior to that, apostolice delegates served as representatives of the Holy See.

The current Nuncio is Luigi Bonazzi, an Italian born Archbishop with a doctorate in educational sciences. As with many esteemed nuncios, Bonazzi has had an interesting career in countries such as Cameroon, Mozambique and Haiti.

Prior to taking the position in Albania he served as Nuncio in the Baltic states.

Papal Nuncio To Australia

Papal Nuncio To Australia

Since 1973 there has been a nunciature in Australia in Canberra.

In June 2021, the long-serving nuncio Adolfo Tito Yllana was transferred to Palestine, Cyprus and Israel.

At the minute it is not clear who is in line to succeed as the Papal Nuncio to Australia.

Who Is the Papal Nuncio of the Philippines?

He serves from the headquarters of the nunciature in Manilla. It replaced the apostolic delegates in 1906.

The current nuncio is Charles John Brown who was Ireland’s nuncio prior to this position. Brown is a New York native.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How to become an Apostolic Nuncio?

Once you are in the priesthood you would have to be nominated for the equivalent of the Vatican's diplomatic service.

You would then receive training, some junior positions abroad, and exposure to the complexities of the role. As your career progresses you may get the opportunity to be appointed as a nuncio.

What is the function of an Apostolic Nuncio?

The nuncio is a representative of the Pope in the chosen country of service. He works to maintain relationships with the state and supports the bishops in their roles.

Who is the Papal Nuncio to Ireland?

The Papal Nuncio to Ireland is Jude Thaddeus Okolo.

What does the Papal Nuncio do?

The Papal Nuncio conducts diplomatic relations on behalf of the Pope.


If this little guide to the Nuncio has been interesting to you, then you absolutely must visit the Vatican!

Head on over to our planning pages to get a sense of just what you can see on a trip to the Holy See.

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