EWTN Vatican
The Vatican Swiss Guards: Guardians with Tradition 

Thirty-four new recruits will be sworn in to the Swiss Guard at the Vatican on May 6. This date has a special significance for the Pope's bodyguards. 

During the so-called "Sack of Rome" on May 6, 1527, the mercenaries of Emperor Charles V invaded Rome and plundered the Eternal City. At the last moment, the Swiss Guards were able to bring Pope Clement VII to safety via a secret passage into Castel Sant'Angelo. 

147 Swiss Guards out of a total of 189 men were killed in the fighting. 

The smallest army in the world has been protecting the Holy Father and his residence since 1506. To become a guardsman, you must be a Catholic Swiss citizen and have completed your basic military service at home. 

At the swearing-in ceremony, recruits swear on the Guard flag. It is an oath that binds them to loyalty to the Holy Father and all his lawful successors, in accordance with their motto "brave and faithful:" 

"I swear to keep everything that has just been read to me conscientiously and faithfully, so help me God and our Holy Patrons!" 

As well as swearing to protect the life of the Pope with their own lives, the guards also have more duties. They guard all official entrances to Vatican City and provide visitors from all over the world with information about the Vatican.  

Adapted by Jacob Stein

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Author Name

Anthony Johnson is a filmmaker at the EWTN Vatican Bureau and is Senior Video Producer of the office's Projects Incubator. He is from San Jose, California and a graduate of Gonzaga University where he studied both Classical Civilizations and Broadcast Journalism. He joined EWTN as a Video Editor in 2017 for the "Vaticano" program, and still contributes to the program while working on a variety of multimedia initiatives and documentaries in Rome.

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