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40 new Swiss Guards sworn in

  • A Vatican Swiss Guard recruit swears in during a ceremony at the San Damaso courtyard in Vatican City, Saturday, May 6, 2017. (Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA via AP) Alessandro Di Meo

  • New Vatican Swiss Guards wear their uniforms and armors prior to a swearing-in ceremony, at the Vatican, Saturday, May 6, 2017. The ceremony is held each May 6 to commemorate the day in 1527 when 147 Swiss Guards died protecting Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) Andrew Medichini

  • Swiss guard

  • A nun walks by new Vatican Swiss Guards prior to their swearing-in ceremony, at the Vatican, Saturday, May 6, 2017. The ceremony is held each May 6 to commemorate the day in 1527 when 147 Swiss Guards died protecting Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) Andrew Medichini

  • A Vatican Swiss Guard recruit swears in during a ceremony at the San Damaso courtyard in Vatican City, Saturday, May 6, 2017. The ceremony is held each May 6 to commemorate the day in 1527 when 147 Swiss Guards died protecting Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) Andrew Medichini

  • A Vatican Swiss Guard recruit swears in during a ceremony at the San Damaso courtyard in Vatican City, Saturday, May 6, 2017. The ceremony is held each May 6 to commemorate the day in 1527 when 147 Swiss Guards died protecting Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) Andrew Medichini

  • Swiss Guards recruits march prior to a swearing-in ceremony, at the Vatican, Saturday, May 6, 2017. The ceremony is held each May 6 to commemorate the day in 1527 when 147 Swiss Guards died protecting Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) Andrew Medichini


Associated Press
Friday, May 12, 2017

VATICAN CITY — The world’s oldest standing army has 40 new members after a Vatican Swiss Guard swearing-in ceremony.

Each man took a loyalty oath Saturday evening in a ritual-rich ceremony in the St. Damaso courtyard of the Apostolic Palace. The May 6 date commemorates the day in 1527 when 147 guardsmen died while protecting Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome.

Earlier Saturday, Pope Francis told the Guards they’re called to “another sacrifice no less arduous” — serving the power of faith.

The recruits, who enroll for at least two years, must be single, upstanding Swiss Catholic males younger than 30.

Wearing blue-and-gold uniforms and holding halberds — spear-like weapons — they are a tourist delight while standing guard at Vatican ceremonies. Their main duty is to protect the pope.