About the “Istituto per le Opere di Religione”

The “Istituto per le Opere di Religione” (IOR) is an institute founded on 27 June, 1942, by Papal Decree and set the task of serving the Holy See and its customers in the Catholic Church all over the world. Its origins date back to the "Commission ad pias causas" established in 1887 by Pope Leo XIII.

The IOR’s purpose is set by its Statute, amended by Pope John Paul II in 1990, and related by-laws. It is “to provide for the custody and administration of goods transferred or entrusted to the Institute by physical or juridical 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 by protecting and growing the assets of and providing worldwide payment services to the Holy See and related entities, religious orders, other Catholic institutions, clergy, employees of the Holy See and the accredited diplomatic corps.

The IOR is situated exclusively on the sovereign territory of the Vatican State. The IOR is regulated by the "Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria" (AIF), the financial supervisory body for the Vatican City State.




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




Please find here the Statute of the IOR.



Key Figures

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

tab ENG riepilogo ior 2013 2016




The IOR is subject to the legislation and regulatory framework of the Holy See and the Vatican City State.
In particular, the Vatican legal framework recognises Canon Law as the primary source of legislation and the primary criterion for its interpretation. Alongside this, there are six organic laws and other ordinary laws specific to the Vatican City State. As regards matters not covered by Vatican laws, laws and other regulations issued by the Italian Republic are observed as supplementary, if transposed by the competent Vatican authority. They are adopted on condition that they do not contravene the precepts 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 in relation to the state of affairs existing in the Vatican City. (See law n. LXXI on the source of law, promulgated by Pope Benedetto XVI on 1 October 2008).

According to article 1.4 of n. LXXI on the sources of law, the legal framework also conforms to the general norms of international law, and to those derived from treaties and other accords of which the Holy See is part.

As noted, the Istituto per le Opere di Religione is supervised by the Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF), the financial regulatory body for the Vatican City State. In this regard, law n. XVIII of 2013 clarifies and consolidates AIFs functions, powers, and responsibilities in the exercise of its supervisory and regulatory tasks, with the purpose of preventing and countering money laundering and the financing of terrorism, the exercise of financial information functions, as well as financial supervisory functions, as established by Pope Francesco in the Motu Proprio of 8 August 2013. ».  > more