Monaco, officially known as Principality of Monaco, is a sovereign city-state located along the Mediterranean French Riviera. The city of Nice in France lies 9 miles (15 km) to the West, and the Italian border 5 miles (8 km) to the East. With an area of 2.1 km (0.81 sq mi), it is the second-smallest sovereign state in the world, after Vatican City, but boasts the highest GDP per capita worldwide.

According to a December 2019 estimate by the Monaco Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, the total population is 38,100, of whom only 9,486 are citizens. The French government estimates 93% of the population is Catholic. Protestant officials state Protestants represent 2% of the population, with 200-220 families.

Article 9 of the Constitution states that “The Catholic, Apostolic and Roman religion is the religion of the State”. As such this makes Roman Catholicism the state religion, and grants the Catholic Archbishop of Monaco the highest office of state below the sovereign and the Minister of State.

Article 23 guarantees individuals freedom of religion and public worship and protects the freedom to express opinions on all issues, provided no crimes are committed in the exercise of those freedoms. No one may be compelled to participate in the rites or ceremonies of any religion or to observe its days of rest. Despite this, Catholic rituals continue to be a part of many state ceremonies, including annual national day celebrations.


Article 207 of the Penal Code forbids:

Any person who has, by word or gesture, desecrated the objects of worship, either in the places intended or currently used for its exercise, or outside these places, but on the occasion of religious ceremonies, or even outraged the ministers of religion in their functions will be punished by imprisonment of one month to six months and the fine provided for in number 2 of article 26 or one of these two penalties only.