WELCOME TO THE AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY TO THE HOLY SEE
Buongiorno! Bonjour! (did you know the Holy See’s official diplomatic language is French?) Hello!
Welcome to the official website of the Australian Embassy to the Holy See. I was honoured to take up my role as Australia’s first resident female career Ambassador and third since the position was established in 2008. Here I am introducing my husband, Dr Adrian Hitchman to His Holiness Pope Francis following presentation of credentials on 8 September 2016. Listen to my credentials' interview with the Vatican Radio here.
The Holy See is both a state recognised in international law and the governing body for the Catholic Church of 1.3 billion. As Australia's official representative to the Holy See under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, my focus is on the state to state relationship. Over five million Australians identify as Catholics. Many of them greeted the three Popes who have visited Australia: Paul VI in 1970, John Paul II in 1986 and 1995, and Benedict XVI in 2008 for World Youth Day in Sydney, which attracted TV and internet audiences of more than a hundred million each. Over 10,000 of them witnessed from St Peter’s Square in Vatican City the canonisation of Mary MacKillop as Saint Mary of the Cross on 17 October 2010. In Rome, too, many welcomed Benedict XVI as he opened the Australian Catholic Church's pilgrimage centre, Domus Australia, in 2011.
My mission to the Holy See is to represent modern Australia – our vibrant democracy, indigenous heritage, multicultural society, activist foreign policy, and committed lay and religious making a difference in Rome and at home. See Forthcoming Events and Recent Events for further information on our activities. We hope you can join us!
With warm wishes
Australian Ambassador to the Holy See
Temporary Employment Register 2018
The Australian Embassy to the Holy See is re-opening its Temporary Employment Register from 16-23 February 2018. Find out more under Vacancies at the bottom of About Us
Australia launches 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper
On 23 November 2017 Australian Prime Minister The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP launched the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper. It is the Australian Government’s first comprehensive Foreign Policy White Paper in 14 years. The 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper is essential to our future security and prosperity and it affirms an outward-looking Australia that is fully engaged with the world. Find out more #FPWhitePaper
Australia elected to the UN Human Rights Council 2018-2020
The Honourable Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs, released a statement on 17 October 2017 to announce Australia's election by a majority of United Nations member states to serve on the Human Rights Council, the world’s peak body for promoting and protecting human rights.
Australia took its seat on 1 January 2018 for a three-year term and is ready to work closely with other countries and civil society to protect and advance human rights around the world. It is in Australia's national interest to shape the work of the Council and uphold the international rules-based order. Respecting fundamental human rights and freedoms, and building them into the fabric of a society, makes Australia and the world safer and more secure.
Find out more #Oz4HumanRights
8 March 2018 International Women's Day event
29 May 2018 Launch of the Australian Indigenous Catalogue (Collaboration of the Vatican Ethnological Museum and the Australian
National University) in the Vatican Museums in Rome. Read about the first launch in Canberra on 7 December 2017.
13 February 2018 - Honouring Australian feminist, activist, theologian and author Rosemary Goldie AO
As part of the Australian Government’s Women in Leadership agenda, the Minister for Defence, Senator the Honourable Marise Payne, opened the Embassy's Rosemary Goldie Room on 13 February 2018 (photo 1). Goldie was an Australian feminist, activist, theologian and author. As Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (1967-1976), she made history as the first woman to hold an official post of authority in the Roman Curia (photo 2). Guests attended from the Holy See (Undersecretary of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development Dottoressa Flaminia Giovanelli, Head of the Office of Women in the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life Dottoressa Marta Rodriguez and the Secretariat of State’s Francesca di Giovanni), diplomatic corps (Ambassadors from Georgia, Peru, Ireland, the UK and Benin), academia (including ACU Pro-Chancellor Julien O’Connell), church (Little Sisters of the Poor Srs Imelda Magee and Jacqueline Welisarage, photo 2) and media (National Catholic Reporter’s Joshua McElwee and The Tablet’s Christopher Lamb). Two gathered knew and worked with her: Undersecretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development Dottoressa Flaminia Giovanelli and the Ambassador for Benin HE Agnes Avognon Adjaho. Rosemary Goldie’s life is recalled through her own hand in From a Roman Window (photo 3). In 1990, Goldie was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for ‘service to religion and to international relations’. On her death in Sydney in 2010, aged 94, the Pontifical Council for the Laity declared Goldie ‘a protagonist for five fruitful decades of the contemporary historical movement of promotion of the laity who left a memorable and very dear trace…for…her competent and untiring service in the Roman Curia’. The Australian Embassy to the Holy See is delighted to honour Rosemary Goldie AO and her contribution to church-state relations as a woman in leadership.
1 February 2018 - Promoting Australia’s Foreign Policy White Paper
Australian Ambassador to the Holy See HE Melissa Hitchman passed a copy of Australia’s Foreign Policy White Paper released in November 2017 by Australian Prime Minister The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP to President of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development His Eminence Cardinal Peter Turkson on 1 February 2018. See #FPWhitePaper
1 February 2018 - Australian Chair of the Board of the Crop Trust safeguarding biodiversity and food security through innovation
Chair of the Board of the 145 member nation not-for-profit Crop Trust, The Hon Tim Fischer AC, briefed Secretary for Relations with States (Holy See Foreign Minister equivalent) HE Archbishop Paul Gallagher (Photo 1) on 1 February 2018 on the Crop’s Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway, which is safeguarding biodiversity and food security against conflict, disease and climate change. During his visit to the Holy See, Mr Fischer and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development Secretary HE Archbishop Silvano Tomasi exchanged memoirs: Holy See, Unholy Me! and The Holy See and the Family of Nations: Diplomatic Actions of the Holy See at the UN (Photo 2)
26 January 2018 - Celebrating Australia Day
The Australian Embassy to the Holy See and Domus Australia co-hosted a record number of guests on 26 January 2018 to celebrate Australia's National Day. Domus Australia Rector Monsignor John Boyle (Photo 2) and Australian Ambassador to the Holy See HE Melissa Hitchman thanked HE Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher OP (Photo 1 - with The Hon Julia Gillard AC) as principal celebrant to a preceding mass in the St Peter Chanel Chapel. Australian Catholic University Indigenous Health and Culture lecturer Ms Colleen Kelly read an Indigenous Thanksgiving Prayer at the following reception. Guests included the 27th Prime Minister of Australia and Chair of the Board for the Global Partnership for Education The Honourable Julia Gillard AC, Holy See Secretary for Relations with States (Foreign Minister equivalent) HE Archbishop Paul Gallagher (Photo 3 - 2nd from left), Holy See Assessor for General Affairs (Deputy Interior Minister equivalent) Monsignor Paolo Borgia, Holy See Undersecretary for Relations with States (Deputy Foreign Minister equivalent) Monsignor Antoine Camilleri (Photo 3 - right) and Holy See Chief of Protocol Monsignor Jose Bettencourt, as well as others from the Curia, Holy See diplomatic corps, academia, NGOs, media, and the Australia diaspora in and around the Holy See and Italy. The Australian Embassy to the Holy See thanks all for their generous support.
10 January 2018 - Women Ambassadors welcoming US Ambassador to the Holy See
HE Melissa Hitchman, along with the other nine resident women Ambassadors currently accredited to the Holy See, welcomed US Ambassador to the Holy See, HE Callista Gingrich on 10 January 2018. Pictured L-R are HE Emma Madigan, Ireland; HE Tamara Grdzelidze, Georgia; HE Miroslava Rosas Vargas, Panama; HE Callista Gingrich, USA; HE Melissa Hitchman, Australia; HE Slavica Karacic, Bosnia-Herzegovina; HE Tetyana Izhevska, Ukraine; HE Agnes Avognon Adjaho, Benin and HE Sally Axworthy MBE, UK. HE Annette Schavan of Germany and HE Elvira Velasquez Rivas-Plata of Peru sent good wishes. All exchanged views on prosecuting respective national interests with the Roman Curia, including leveraging the resources of pontifical universities, national colleges, and diaspora.
Useful information about visiting the Holy See
Visiting the Vatican - general information on booking various Vatican tours and tickets for events presided by the Pope