The Vatican came out of the red to post a profit of almost €9.8m last year.

After balancing its books the Holy See reported a surplus in 2010 after three consecutive years of losses amid the financial crisis.

Details of the Holy See's accounts were released following a two-day meeting of the Council of Cardinals, responsible for overseeing the Vatican's balance sheet.

It showed income of €245,195,561 and expenditure of €235,347,437.

In 2009 the Vatican reported losses of €4.1m.

'The 2010 budget would seem to confirm the positive trend of the 2009 exercise... which had to absorb the negative effects resulting from the 2008 financial crisis,' said a Holy See statement.

The Governorate of Vatican City State, an independent administration which runs the finances of the tiny state, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, registered a surplus of €21m.

An increase in visitors to Vatican museums and an upswing in financial markets were said to have contributed to the result.