Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

New Swiss Guards Swear Oath Of Allegiance To Protect Pope Francis.

The Text in this Article, unless otherwise stated, is taken from CNA CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY

Swearing in of the Swiss Guard at the Vatican on May 6, 2014. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

The "Swearing-In" of the Swiss Guard
at the Vatican on 6 May 2014.
Photo: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Vatican City, May 6, 2014 / 11:21 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Thirty young men joined the ranks of the Swiss Guards today, taking an Oath of Allegiance to Pope Francis and promising to serve the Church by protecting him and all of his successors.

Addressing the new Guards, the day before their traditional Swearing-In on 6 May, the Pope explained that the event commemorates their predecessors, who “offered their lives to defend the Church.”

“Your dedication,” he noted, “confirms that their courage and loyalty have borne fruit.”

In the San Damaso courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, Tuesday, 6 May 2014, the new Members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard made their commitment, like hundreds before them, on the Anniversary of the Sack of Rome.

Swiss Guard,
posted at Saint Peter's Basilica,
Vatican, Italy.
Photo: 29 August 2013.
Source: Own work.
Author: Lobozpics.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Occurring 6 May 1527, the attack marks the most significant and deadliest event in the history of the Guard. During the battle, one hundred and forty-seven Members lost their lives, while fighting the army of the Holy Roman Empire, in defence of Pope Clement VII, who was able to escape through a secret passageway leading from the Vatican to Castel Sant’Angelo, which sits on the Tiber River, Rome.

In his comments to the Guards, Pope Francis observed how society today is different than it was then, “But man's heart, his capacity to be loyal and courageous . . . has remained the same.”

“Serving in the Swiss Guard means living an experience that involves a meeting of time and space in a very particular way,” he said. “With your special service, you are called upon to offer serene and joyful Christian witness to whomever arrives in the Vatican to visit St. Peter's Basilica and to meet the Pope.”

“Live your days intensely ! Be firm in your Faith and generous in your Charity towards the people you meet.”

File:Rgt Gardes-suisses.png

English: Regimental flag of the Swiss Guards
(French Regiment, Marseilles, France, 1899).
Deutsch: Ordonnanzfahne eines französischen Regiments der Gardeschweizer. - 
Entnommen und überarbeitet aus: „LES UNIFORMES ET
Marseille 1899. 
(Drapeau d'Ordonnance du régiment des Gardes-suisses.
Source: Own work.
Author: Steinbeisser.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Remarking on how the colours of the Swiss Guard uniform – which also celebrates its 100-year Anniversary this year – are known throughout the world, the Pope reflected that they “stand for dedication, seriousness and security. They are identified with singular service and a glorious past.”

“However, behind every uniform, there is a real person: With a family and a homeland, with a personality and sensibility, with wishes and plans in life,” the Pontiff went on to say, emphasising that, although the uniform attracts attention, “it is not the uniform, but rather he who wears it, who must be noted for his kindness, his spirit of welcome, for his charitable attitude towards all.”

“Consider this also in your relations between yourselves, according importance, also in your community life, to sharing both joyful moments and those that are more difficult,” the Pope said, stressing the importance of doing so “without ignoring those among you who are in difficulty.”

File:Tuileries Henri Motte.jpg

Massacre of the Swiss Guards during the storming of the Tuileries.
Artist: Henri-Paul Motte (1846–1922).
Date: 1892.
Source/Photographer: Bibliothèque nationale de France
(Wikimedia Commons)

For those who are in difficulty “and who are at times in need of a smile and a gesture of encouragement and friendship,” the Pope encouraged them to “avoid that negative distance that divides companions and, in the lives of all people in the world, can give rise to disdain, marginalisation and racism.”

Present at the Guards' Swearing-In was a number of Vatican dignitaries, the new Swiss Ambassador to the Holy See, Pierre-Yves Fux, and Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, who is the Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.

During the ceremony, each new Guard placed a hand on the Official Flag of the Swiss Guard, and, with the other hand, raised three fingers as a symbol of the Holy Trinity.


Banner of the Pontifical Swiss Guard.
Español: Versión de la Bandera de la Guardia Suiza Vaticana,
durante el pontificado de Francisco
y la comandancia de Daniel Rudolf Anrig, en base a:
English: Flag Version of the Vatican Swiss Guard,
during the Pontificate of Pope Francis
and under the command of Daniel Rudolf Anrig,
Date: 7 August 2013.
Source: Own work.
Author: Sarumo74.
(Wikimedia Commons)

In addition to protecting the Pope, members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard are often called on to answer tourists’ questions, perform ceremonial duties and to assist at Vatican events.

Speaking to CNA, during a 5 May Press Conference detailing the preparations for the event, the Commander of the Swiss Guard, Colonel Daniel Anrig, explained that maintaining the tradition of new Guards making their Oaths on the Anniversary of the Sack of Rome reminds them of their mission.

“The Swiss Guards had to protect Pope Clement VII and most of the Swiss Guards lost their lives,” he noted. “That’s the reason we are remembering the day,” and, “to also promise again to do the same in this way. To do the same as the soldiers have done in 1527.”

Making an Oath for the Pope “means to give him everything, meaning also your life when need be,” the Commander continued, “so it’s a commitment, it’s a strong commitment to do everything for the Holy Father.”


The following Text is taken from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia.

Swiss Guards are the Swiss soldiers who have served as guards at foreign European Courts since the Late-15th-Century. In addition to small Household and Palace Units, Swiss Mercenary Regiments have served as Regular Troops in various armies; notably, those of France, Spain and Naples (see Swiss Mercenaries). Currently, the name "Swiss Guard" generally refers to the Pontifical Swiss Guard of the Holy See, stationed at the Vatican, in Rome, Italy.

The Swiss were famous Mercenaries for hundreds of years. Since Switzerland was a poor country, young men often sought their fortunes abroad, having a reputation for discipline and loyalty, and employing revolutionary battle tactics. They were considered the most powerful Troops of the 15th-Century, until their methods were refined by the Landsknechte in the Early-16th-Century.

The earliest such Unit was the Swiss Hundred Guard (Cent Suisses) at the French Court (1497 – 1830). This small force was complemented in 1567 by a Swiss Guards Regiment. The Papal Swiss Guard (now located in Vatican City), was founded in 1506 and is the only extant Swiss Guard. In the 18th- and Early-19th-Centuries, several other Swiss Guard Units existed for periods in various European Courts.

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