Swiss Guard to Swear in 36 New Recruits

Through this ceremony, the recruits pledge eternal loyalty to the Pope by expressing their devotion, loyalty, and absolute will to serve the Successor of Peter.

Newsroom (2/05/2022 8:14, Gaudium PressOn May 6, thirty-six new recruits of the Pontifical Swiss Guard will take their oath in the St. Damasus courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, located in the Vatican. The ceremony, scheduled to take place at 5 p.m., will be held in a shortened form and can be followed live via the official website of the Pontifical Swiss Guard.

One day before the swearing-in ceremony, at 5 p.m., Vespers will be recited in the Church of St. Mary of Pity in Campo Santo Teutonicum, celebrated by the abbot of the Monastery of Einsiedeln, don Urbano Federer O.S.B.. This will be followed by the laying of a wreath in honor of those who died on May 6, 1527 and the conferring of honors in the “Roman Protomartyrs’ Square” by Archbishop Peña Parra.

On Friday morning, May 6, at 7:30, Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, Archpriest of the Papal Vatican Basilica, will celebrate a Holy Mass at the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica. In case of bad weather, the swearing-in ceremony of the new recruits will take place in Paul VI Hall.

Swiss Guards Oath Formula

Through this ceremony, recruits pledge eternal loyalty to Pope Francis and his legitimate Successors, expressing their devotion, loyalty, and absolute willingness to serve the Successor of Peter. To this end, each of them uses the following formula:

“I swear to serve, with fidelity, loyalty, and honor, the present Pope and his legitimate Successors, to whom I dedicate all my strength, sacrificing, if necessary, also my life for their defense. I make the same commitment to the College of Cardinals during the vacant See. I also promise the Commandant and the other Superiors respect, fidelity, and obedience. With this oath, I hope that God and our holy protectors will help me.”

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The new recruits will pronounce the oath in German, French, Italian, and Romianian. The uniform used for the occasion is the “Grand Gala” uniform with the armor, which is normally worn exclusively on the occasion of the Papal Blessing “Urbi et Orbi” at Christmas and Easter.

The solemn swearing to the flag of the Swiss Guard will take place in the presence of the Holy Father’s Representative, Venezuelan Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.

History of the Oath

On January 22, 1506 a group of Swiss soldiers arrived in St. Peter’s Square, sent by the Catholic King of Switzerland, to protect the Pope, who at the time was Julius II della Rovere. Thus began the Pontifical Guard’s service to the Pontiff and the Church to this day.

The swearing-in ceremony commemorates the sacrifice of 147 Swiss Guardsmen killed in battle in defense of Pope Clement VII during the historic episode of the sack of Rome in 1527 by the troops of Emperor Charles V.

Emperor Charles V, despite being a Catholic monarch, holder of the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Germanic Empire and the crown of the Spanish kingdoms, started a war against the Papal States over the Pope’s alliance with the King of France, which threatened his sovereignty in the Italian kingdoms. (EPC)

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