My Pictures of the Swiss Guard

Wednesday, May 7th, I went to the swearing in of 32 the new Swiss Guards at the Vatican. (See story below.)

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The ceremony started with three trumpeters in the window.
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The procession of guards marches into the courtyard of St. Damasus.
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The chaplain addresses the guards.
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Each of the recruits puts there left hand on the flag and takes the oath with 3 fingers raised, representing the Trinity.
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The band places several tunes.
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The drum line gets to show off too.
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Leaving through the Vatican bank, probably the only ATM in the world written in Latin.

Click on an image to see the full size picture

VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2003 ( .- John Paul II thanked the Swiss Guards for their service of guarding the person of the Pope and his residence, on the day that 32 new recruits were sworn in. <>The oath of the Swiss Guards states: "I swear to faithfully, loyally and honorably serve the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II and his legitimate Successors, and also dedicate myself to them with all my strength, sacrificing if necessary also my life to defend them."

In particular, the Holy Father pointed out the "courtesy" with which these young men welcome "the numerous pilgrims who every day ask for their help."

"I thank you profoundly and invite you to reflect on the example of your predecessors, some of whom even gave their lives to fulfill the mission entrusted to them to defend the Successor of Peter," he added today.

In fact, the May 6 date of the swearing-in ceremony recalls the day in 1527 when 147 Swiss Guards died during the sack of Rome. They fell in battle protecting Pope Clement VII and the Church from the onslaught of the troops of Emperor Charles V.

On Tuesday afternoon, in St. Damaso's courtyard of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, 32 new guards took the oath in the presence of Vatican authorities and of Peter Schonenberger, president of the Swiss canton of St. Gallen.

The Pontifical Swiss Guard was founded by Pope Julius II in 1506, directly under the authority of the Holy See, whose main duties were to guard the person of the Roman Pontiff and the Apostolic Palaces. It is normally made up of 110 volunteers, recruited from all the Swiss cantons. Their duties also include guarding the entrances to Vatican City, security services, and forming an honor guard during the Holy Father's religious and diplomatic activities. A number of guards always accompany the Pope on his journeys.

"In general, the recruits are not older than 25. Terms are for two years, with the possibility of renewing for another two years, up to a maximum of 20 years.

The 500th anniversary of the corps will be observed in 2006. More information is at

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