(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 04.20.2023).- The solemn oath taking of 23 new recruits of the Pontifical Swiss Guard will take place on Saturday, May 6, in the afternoon.
Every year the new guards take the oath on the anniversary of the sacking of Rome, in which 189 Swiss Guards defended Pope Clement VII against the army of Charles V. The oath is taken on the flag of the Pontifical Swiss Guard Corps and in the presence of the Holy Father’s representative, His Excellency Monsignor Edgar Peña Parra, Substitute for General Affairs of the State Secretariat. The Guards swear to protect and defend the Titular Pope and all his legitimate Successors, even to the point of risking their own life, as their courageous and faithful ancestors did in the past.
This is the formula of the oath (read by the Chaplain):
“I swear to serve faithfully, loyally and honourably the reigning Pontiff and his legitimate Successors, to dedicate myself to them with all my strength, including sacrificing my life in their defense if it were necessary.
I assume the same duties for the College of Cardinals during the vacancy of the Apostolic See. I also promise the Commander and other Superiors respect, loyalty and obedience. I so swear. May God and our Patron Saints assist me.”
Response of the Guards to the flag
“I, Halberdier . . . , swear to observe faithfully, loyally and honourably all that has been read to me in this moment. May God and our Patron Saints assist me.”
The ceremony is celebrated in a festive atmosphere. The guards dress for the “Big Event’ in their gala uniform including armour, which is used for the Papal Blessing “Urbi et Orbi” at Christmas and Easter.
A delegation of the Swiss Confederation will be present, headed by the Confederation’s Vice-President, Viola Amherd, together with the President of the National Council, Martin Candinas, and the President of the Council of States, Brigitte Häberli-Koller. Also present will be the Commander of the Swiss Armed Forces, Thomas Süssli, and the representative of the Swiss Episcopal Conference, Monsignor Felix Gmür (President)), Bishop of Basle. The delegation of Argovia, the host Canton this year, will be presided by the Council of State and headed by the Landammann Jean-Pierre Gallati
The oath can be followed by streaming in the official Webpage of the Pontifical Swiss Guard: www.guardiasvizzera.ch.
Data on the Pontifical Swiss Guard Corps
The oldest army in the world, founded by Pope Julius II on January 22, 1506, is in charge of the Pope’s protection and that of his residence. Directed by Colonel Christoph Graf (LU), its mission is to control access to the Vatican and to the Apostolic Palace, to guarantee order and representation during papal ceremonies and State receptions, and to protect the College of Cardinals during the sede vacante. The Corps is made up of guards coming from all linguistic regions of Switzerland. The majority of the Corps members are from the Fribourg Canton (14), followed by the Lucerne Cantons (14) and Saint Gallen (13).