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Rome Reports

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Vatican welcomes the great swearing-in ceremony of the Swiss Guards

The Swiss Guard headquarters opens its doors to the press one day a year, and that is for a few hours before the new recruits take their oath. It's a very solemn day in memory of the 147 soldiers who gave their lives to protect the pope in 1527. 

CHRISTOPH GRAF

Commander of the Swiss Guard

"We are the smallest army in the world, 110 soldiers. Also the oldest still in service; we have worked since 1506. The difference between us and the others is that we serve the pope, and that is unique."

To enter this army, you must have a Swiss passport, be a practicing Catholic and have a good reputation. Recruits cannot be married and must be under 30 years of age. Before arriving in Rome, they have to undergo training in Switzerland. At the Vatican, one of the most delicate jobs in the world awaits: protecting the pope.

CHRISTOPH GRAF

Commander of the Swiss Guard

"Our army has no airplanes, no cannons, no tanks. But our soldiers are very well prepared to defend the pope. They do not just have the halberd of the uniform of honor. "

Didier Grandjean has been a Swiss Guard for six years. As a child he wanted to serve in this army, which he explains goes far beyond just professional work. 

DIDIER GRANDJEAN

Vice Corporal, Pontifical Swiss Guard

"This year there are 40 recruits who will take the solemn oath. In some way, it is the most important day of their lives, because they swear to serve the pope, giving their own life if necessary, so that the pope can exercise his ministry.�

Dylan is one of 40 new recruits. He decided to become a Swiss guard to give a small, but powerful, contribution to the pontificate of Pope Francis. 

DYLAN WARROLL

Swiss Guard

"I just felt, OK, a guy like him, we need to protect him, because the duty is really important for us, in my eyes. This is a testimony, this is a moment that you are with God, you take this decision to give your life for pope, not only with your body, but also with your mind.�

Filippo also lives these days with great enthusiasm, and proudly explains what the colors of his uniform symbolize. 

FILIPPO INCHES

Swiss Guard

"The colors blue and yellow are the colors of Julius II, the pope who founded the Swiss Guards. Red is the color of the Medici, in memory of Pope Clement VII, who lived during the sack of Rome in 1527. We remember him in the oath because 147 guards died to save him."

The Swiss guards are discreet angels of the pope's protection. They are in charge of monitoring the rooms in which he lives and works. They also accompany him in Rome and on his trips abroad. It is an effective service that they do with Swiss precision.

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