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Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

Why does the swiss guard protect the vatican?

i have no clue what this question means my dad told me to ask it had something to do with the pope and the new movie angels and answer please

7 Answers

  • Koi
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

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    Here are some youtube videos of the Papal Swiss Guards. In medieval times, the Swiss were feared mercenaries. The pope hired them to be his personal body guards. The Swiss Guards are famous for an act of bravery during the Sack of Rome, where most of them were killed defending Clement VII.


    Even in the fifteenth century the popes possessed a body-guard of the Catholic Swiss. In 1505, at the instance of the Swiss Cardinal Schinner, a treaty was made by Julius II with the two cantons of Zurich and Lucerne, in accordance with which these cantons had to supply constantly 250 men as a body-guard to the pope. Since this date there has always been about the pope a corps of Swiss Guards (cf. Baumgarten, "Katholische Kirche unserer Zeit", I 297 sqq.; "Kirchliche Handlexikon", s.v. "Schweizergarde"). At present the Guards possess a strength of exactly 100 men (including the six officers), who suffice not alone for the complete discharge of the various duties of the corps but also for the maintenance of a watch (formerly essentially more strict and extensive) over the pope during the night. Their old picturesque uniform of black, red, and yellow, in sixteenth-century style, is still retained. A black hat with red strings has recently replaced the very ugly helmet. While exercising, on night watch, or in barracks, the men wear a steel-blue undress uniform, consisting of wider tunic, knee-breeches, dark-blue stockings, and laced boots, but while on guard duty they wear dark-yellow stockings and buckled shoes. On especially solemn occasions both men and officers appear in military uniform with weapons and helmets. The barracks of the Guards lies at the foot of the Palace of Sixtus V. A portion of the building was erected in 1492 during the reign of Alexander VI. The canteen of the Guards furnishes them with their board. The religious privileges of the Guards are very extensive and their regulation pertains to their chaplain who consults the Holy Father in this regard. The care of their other privileges appertains to their commander.

    One of the Swiss Guard's most notable hours occurred at this time. Almost the entire guard was massacred by Imperial troops on the steps of St Peter's Basilica. Of 189 guards on duty only 42 survived, but their bravery ensured that Pope Clement VII escaped to safety, down the passetto di Borgo, a secret corridor which still links the Vatican City to Castel Sant'Angelo.

    The Swiss Papal Guard continues its original mission and defends the ideas of courage and faith, a conference in Rome has heard.

    The one-day event in the Italian capital marked the end of celebrations for the 500th anniversary of what is popularly known as the oldest army in the world.

    "The Swiss Papal Guard is one of the rare institutions in Europe that has remained intact over the centuries," commented Gerhard Schuwey, former director of the Swiss Federal Office for Education and Science, who opened the event.

    Experts from Switzerland, Germany and Italy attended the conference at the Swiss Institute in Rome, which organised the event in collaboration with authorities from the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.

    The history of the papal army dates from January 22 when 150 Swiss guards, commanded by Kaspar von Silenen from canton Uri, entered Rome's Piazza del Popolo and were welcomed by Pope Julius II.

    "The holy father wanted them for his personal defence. He knew their reputation as loyal soldiers, but also they were particularly ferocious and did not know the meaning of danger," commented historian Marco Venato.

    "They had qualities which made them effective on the battlefield," he added.

    New guards are sworn in every year on May 6 ( Trust

    Swiss guards showed that this trust was well placed. The conference participants were reminded of the sack of Rome on May 6, 1527 when 147 guards out of 189 died in a battle against 20,000 German and Spanish mercenaries to save the life of Pope Clement VII.

    Since then the Swiss Papal has adopted the words of courage and loyalty (in Latin "acriter et fideliter") and May 6 has become the date when new guards traditionally take their oath.

    The conference also touched on a certain number of political and religious anecdotes.

    For example, it is remarkable that the Swiss Papal Guard, which continues the long tradition of Swiss mercenaries, is not considered in Switzerland as an army.

    "The constitution of 1848 forbids it and legally it is considered simply as a police force," commented theologian Alois Odermatt.

    Its political importance is also not to be underestimated, as demonstrated by the attendance of Swiss cabinet ministers at this year's jubilee celebrations.

    "All the cabinet members, apart from [Swiss Finance Minister] Hans-Rudolf Merz, insisted in taking part in the festivities," Odermatt noted.

    "And during these occasions each of them, Catholic or not, praised the commitment and faithfulness of the Swiss Papal Guard, not forgetting their role as Swiss ambassadors abroad."


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  • Erika
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    The Swiss Guard

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  • 3 years ago

    Vatican Guard

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  • 5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    Why does the swiss guard protect the vatican?

    i have no clue what this question means my dad told me to ask it had something to do with the pope and the new movie angels and answer please

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's tradition. The Swiss Guard are the Pope's bodyguards. They're mainly ceremonial but in fact each of them also carries a 9 mm pistol. They're recruited from Switzerland. Don't know about that movie though.

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  • (o_o)
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    The swiss guard has guarded the Pope since medieval times. It is mainly just for show now. In medieval times the swiss were great pike men and cheap.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Because this is a dangerous world.

    The Swiss Guard celebrated their 500th anniversary of protecting the Pope in 2006.

    For more information, see:

    With love in Christ.

    • Denny6 years agoReport

      This doen't answer the question. WHY are they Swiss......and not Roman or Vatican Church guards. I see no connection between the Swiss and the Vatican. Perhaps the MONEY of the Catholic Church is in Switzerland.

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