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Saturday, May 25, 2024
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Swiss guards swear allegiance to pope and Vatican

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On 6 May, 34 young men will stand in front of their friends and family to swear their allegiance to Pope Francis and his successors. This comes after months of training and preparation.

The San Damaso Courtyard in the Vatican will be filled with the colourful uniforms of the Swiss Guard for the swearing-in ceremony.

Here, each guard will say the oath in their native language: French, German or Italian.

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This day marks the anniversary of the sack of Rome, where 189 guards defended Pope Clement VII against the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V’s army in 1527.

“I became a Swiss Guard because I pretty much like the history part of it. Because we have more than 500 years of history in the Swiss Guards,” said Theophile Besomi, a current Swiss guard.

“And the second reason is because I want to serve the church more than just going on Sunday to church.”

It isn’t easy to get into this army. There are about 12 requirements: from being a Swiss citizen and having a driver’s license to committing to stay in the corps for 26 months.

At the moment, they are all men. But there have been discussions about the possibility of admitting women in the future.

In 2018, following the Paris attacks, the Vatican decided to increase the number of Swiss Guards from 110 to 135.

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