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New Swiss guards vow to serve “faithfully, loyally, and honourably,” even unto death

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34 new Swiss guard recruits entered the San Damaso Courtyard on 6 May, beginning the traditional swearing-in ceremony.

With their left hand on the flag of the military corps and three fingers raised, symbolising the Holy Trinity, each one swore to faithfully serve Pope Francis and his successors. They stated that, if necessary, they would protect them with their own lives.

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The Swiss Guard chaplain read the oath formula which states that each guard must serve the reigning pope “faithfully, loyally, and honourably,” even unto death.

Each new Swiss guard responded affirmatively, finishing with a call of protection to Our Lady and God.

In 1527, 147 guards lived out this oath to the fullest by defending Pope Clement VII against an invading army with their lives.

That is why the swearing-in ceremony is celebrated every 6 May, to commemorate the anniversary of the Sack of Rome.

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