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La protezione dei luoghi di culto nel diritto internazionale

journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-03, 11:12 authored by Paolo Vargiu
The right to freedom of religion or belief is explicitly recognised in various instruments of international law. The protection of places of worship and their integrity, however, remains difficult and heavily influenced by factual circumstances rather than general issues relating to their nature. Du- ring armed conflicts, places of worship are fundamentally protected by virtue of their historical and artistic significance rather than their religious connotation – thus merely as an expression of the cultural heritage of the populations involved. In times of peace, however, places of worship do not seem to enjoy special protection, and sim- ply fall under the broader protection of freedom of religion or belief. The lack of an organic regulation on the protection of places of worship makes the situation even more complex, since the multiple rules forming the legal regime of places of worship must be sought and assembled from various instruments of applicable law. It is also unclear whether places of worship are to be considered mere properties, places the destination of which is the expression of religious rituals, or religious symbols in their own right; this uncertainty makes it difficult to determine the applicable legal regime at the international level. This article has thus a twofold objective: to provide a comprehensive overview of the rules of international law protecting places of worship, as well as to present a question to the international and ecclesiastical le- gal scholarships, with implications that are anything but merely theoretical, on the right to visibility of places of worship.


Author affiliation

School of Law, University of Leicester


  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Ephemerides Iuris Canonici






185 - 204


Marcianum Press



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