Australian Embassy
The Holy See
Address: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 349, 00186 Rome, Italy. Telephone: +39 06 686261. Fax: +39 06 686 26111

Australia Remembers MH17

Today, Australia remembers all those who lost their lives on Flight MH17.
There were 298 innocent people on this aircraft and their deaths offend our sense of justice.
We grieve for all, but particularly for the 40 victims who called Australia home, including 38 Australian citizens and residents.
A National Memorial Service was held in the Great Hall at Parliament House to honour those who lost their lives and support those who have been bereaved.
A permanent memorial has been established in the gardens of Parliament House and will serve as a constant reminder of the lives lost a year ago.
The plaque is inscribed with the names of the Australian victims.
The plaque sits on top of soil taken from the Ukrainian town of Rozsypne.
The soil was collected by an Australian Federal Police officer from the area where Flight MH17 came down.
I thank the men and women who contributed to the response to MH17 for their professionalism and commitment.
They ensured the victims of this tragedy were treated with dignity and respect, and that their families were provided with the best support we could give.
The Governor-General has announced awards for a number of Australian service men and women and government officials who made key contributions to Operation Bring Them Home.
The awards include Public Service Medals, Australian Police Medals and Humanitarian Overseas Service Medals for those who went above and beyond the call of duty. The Governor-General has also announced an honorary award in the Order of Australia.
The Commonwealth Government continues to work with the international community to ensure the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2166, which called for a full, thorough and independent investigation into the downing of MH17.
On this first anniversary, we restate our support for the families and honour the lives of their loved ones.
They will always be remembered. 


Prime Minister of Australia

17 July 2015


A celebration of Australia’s relations with the Holy See

On 28 April 2014, the Australian Embassy to the Holy See celebrated more than four decades of Australia's diplomatic relations with the Holy See, and the centenary of the first Apostolic Delegation in Australia.

It capped off visits to the Holy See by the Minister for Education, and Leader of the House, the Hon Christopher Pyne, MP, and the President of the Senate, Senator the Hon John Hogg. Minister Pyne represented the Prime Minister and the Australian Government at the canonisations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII in St Peter's Square on Sunday 27 April 2014, and met Pope Francis. Senator Hogg also attended the ceremonies.


Minister Pyne was welcomed earlier by the Holy See's Secretary for Relations with States (Foreign Minister), His Excellency Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, who will visit Australia in November 2014 at the invitation of the Australian Government and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

Archbishop Mamberti was Guest of Honour at the Embassy celebration on the evening of Monday 28 April, when he addressed a large gathering of more than 150 civil and ecclesiastical dignitaries and Australian religious in Rome. Archbishop Mamberti referred warmly to his meeting with Minister Pyne and to his forthcoming visit to Australia. Senator Hogg represented the Australian Senate at the reception and led the formal toast to Pope Francis.


In a written message, the Foreign Minister the Hon Julie Bishop, MP, paid tribute to the many men and women who had contributed to the strong relationship between Australia and the Holy See, describing it as a relationship defined by mutual trust and shared values.

His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State (Prime Minister) of the Holy See celebrated the Embassy's Thanksgiving Mass. The Mass was concelebrated with His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, AC, and other Australian and Holy See clergy and seminarians. It was well attended by a large number of invited guests.


The Embassy also facilitated the presentation to Pope Francis of a portrait that Chinese-born Australian artist, Jiawei Shen, painted of His Holines from official photographs in the context of the Embassy's celebration of more than four decades of Australia's diplomatic relations with the Holy See. The presentation by Senator Hogg was attended by Cardinal Pell, HE John McCarthy, Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, Professor Wayne McKenna, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University, which sponsored the portrait, and Mr Shen and his wife, Ms Lan Wang.


Ambassador McCarthy described the Embassy's celebrations as a fitting and memorable tribute to Australia's strong relationship with the Holy See.


The Australian Embassy to the Holy See particularly thanks the Australian Catholic University for sponsorship of the portrait gift project


Please direct any enquiries to

International Women's Day

The Female Face of the Vatican

The Embassy held a seminar on the theme of the Female Face of the Vatican for more than 50 professional women from lay and religious circles in March 2014 to celebrate International Women's Day.

A panel of speakers - Ana Cristina Villa Betancourt, Head of the Women's Section at the Pontifical Council for the Laity; Lucetta Scaraffia, editor of the women's supplement of the Vatican newspaper, l’Osservatore Romano; and Maria Cristina Carlo Stella, Head of the Office of the Fabbrica di San Pietro (management of St Peter's Basilica, and related facilities and services) - addressed the seminar.


Each of the panelists spoke about women's achievements and the challenges they continue to face from the perspective of their own personal and professional experiences. The high-calibre presentations were well received by an appreciative audience and encouraged a lively question and answer session.

The seminar was organised, managed and hosted by the Embassy’s Madonna Noonan and Barbara Lee. It provided an opportunity to showcase gender-focused Australian policies highlighting the economic, political and social achievements of women, including relevant Australian development programs and work of the office of the Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja.

The Embassy plans to hold another International Women’s Day event in 2015.



 John McCarthy QC – Ambassador to The Holy See

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced on 29 April 2012 that Mr John McCarthy QC will be Australia's next Ambassador to the Holy See.

Ambassador McCarthy arrived in Rome on 28 August 2012.

He presented credentials toPope Benedict XVI on 5 November 2012

See Ambassador's Page for more information 


 Speeches, notes and comments by the Ambassador

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
Past News Items - items previously published on the front page



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