About the “Istituto per le Opere di Religione”



The Istituto per le Opere di Religione (the “Institute” or “IOR”) is an institution of the Holy See, founded on 27 June 1942 by Chirograph of His Holiness Pius XII. Its origins date back to the “Commissione ad Pias Causas” established by Pope Leo XIII in 1887.

The mission of the IOR, established by its Statute, with reference to the Chirograph dated 1 March 1990 of His Holiness John Paul II, is “to provide for the custody and administration of goods transferred or entrusted to the Institute by natural or legal persons, designated for religious works or charity. The Institute can accept deposits of assets from entities or persons of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State”.

The IOR strives to serve the global mission of the Catholic Church through the administration of the entrusted assets and providing payment services to the Holy See and related entities, religious orders, other Catholic institutions, clergy, employees of the Holy See and the accredited diplomatic bodies.

The IOR is exclusively located on the sovereign territory of the Vatican City State and subject to the regulations and legislation applicable therein. The IOR is supervised and regulated by the "Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria" (AIF).







Key milestones in the IOR's history:

11 February 1887

Pope Leo XIII constitutes the “Commission of Cardinals for Charitable Causes“ (“Commissione Cardinaliza ad pias causas”) with an own regulation

24 November 1904

Pope Pio X changes the Commission’s name to “Commission of Cardinals for the Works of Religion” (“Commissione Cardinalizia per le Opere di Religione”)

10 February 1934

The Comission is turned into the “Administrative Prelate Commission of the Works of Religion” (“Commissione Prelatizia Amministratrice delle Opere di Religione”) and Pope Pio XI approves its statute




The IOR Statute can be viewed in the link below (Statute).



Key Figures

These are the key figures for the IOR at a glance:

tab ENG riepilogo IOR 2015 2017




The Institute is subject to the laws and regulations of the Holy See and Vatican City State.

The Vatican legal framework recognizes the Canon Law as the primary source of legislation and the primary criterion for its interpretation. Furthermore, there are six organic laws and other ordinary laws specific to the Vatican City State. For matters not covered by Vatican laws, laws and other regulations issued by the Italian Republic are observed as supplementary, subject to prior approval by the competent Vatican authority. They are adopted on the condition that they do not conflict with the doctrine of divine law, the general principles of Canon Law or the provisions of the Lateran Pact and subsequent Agreements, and provided that they are applicable to the state of affairs existing in Vatican City (See law No LXXI on the source of law, promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI on 1 October 2008).

According to article 1.4 of Law no. LXXI on the sources of law, the legal framework must also conform to the general norms of international law, and to those arising from treaties and other agreements to which the Holy See is part of.

The Institute is subject to Law no. XVIII of 8 October 2013 that covers norms of transparency, supervision, and financial intelligence and, as an entity that carries out financial activities on a professional basis in Vatican City State, it is also subject to Regulation No. 1 “Prudential Supervision of Entities carrying out financial activities on a professional basis” issued by AIF and enacted on 13 January 2015.

The Regulation No. 1, establishing a clear system of authorization, stipulates the criteria for the organization and management of entities and mechanisms of internal control.


On 15 December 2016, the AIF promulgated the “Circular relating to the preparation of the annual financial statements and the consolidated financial statements of entities carrying out financial activities on a professional basis”. IOR financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the aforementioned Circular.