34 Swiss Guard recruits will be sworn in on May 6

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Oath of the Swiss Guards (Vatican, October 4, 2020)
Oath of the Swiss Guards (Vatican, October 4, 2020) (Vatican Media)

On May 6, in the Courtyard of St. Damas in front of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, the oath of allegiance will be taken by the recruits of the Swiss Guard, founded by Pope Julius II in 1506.

Victor Vladimirov – Vatican City

Young soldiers will swear an oath of eternal loyalty to Pope Francis and his rightful successors, expressing their dedication and willingness to serve the Successor of St. Peter. For the second year in a row, the ancient ceremony of the Swiss Guard Corps will be shown online and live on TV.

34 recruits will take the solemn oath of allegiance to the corps banner in the presence of Pope Francis’ representative Monsignor Edgar Peña Parr. On this occasion, the Guardsmen will don the Gran Gala, the armor used during the Papal Blessing Urbi et Orbi (City and Peace) ceremony at Christmas and Easter.

A wreath will be laid in the Vatican Square of the First Martyrs of Rome in memory of the heroic deaths of 147 Swiss soldiers who died in the defense of Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome in 1527. Due to the health emergency, the event will be held without spectators and in accordance with the sanitary measures to counter COVID-19. In addition to the recruits, two musicians, two honorary guards, the corps personnel and those who will receive awards for faithful service will take part in the ceremony. The Swiss authorities will be represented by Chairman of the Federal Council Guy Parmelin, Chairman of the National Council Andreas Ebi and Chairman of the Council of State Alex Kuprecht. The Swiss Armed Forces will be represented by Roland Favre, a senior officer at the Geneva Center for Security Policy (CGPS). The Catholic Church of the Confederation will be represented by Monsignor Alain De Ramey.

The Swiss Guard, led by Colonel Christoph Graf, guards the entrances to the Vatican, maintains order and the guard of honor during Papal ceremonies and state receptions, and guards the College of Cardinals during the Dowager’s See. The corps includes guardsmen from all over Switzerland; most of them are representatives of the cantons of St. Gallen, Valais and Lucerne. Information on the schedule of the ceremony can be found at site of the Vatican military corps

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