May 5, 2012 7:27pm
May 6th: Honoring the Swiss Guard
I swear to faithfully, honestly, and honorably serve the supreme ponitiff and his legitimate successors, and to dedicate myself to them with all my strength, ready to sacrifice, should it become necessary, even my own life for them.
This is the oath of the Swiss Guard, taken every May 6th by a group of 100 recruits who pledge their lives to protect the pope.
The Swiss Guard has varied in size over the years. Its most significant, hostile engagement was on May 6, 1527 when 147 of the 189 Guards lost their lives during the Sack of Rome in order to allow Clement VII to escape escorted by the other forty guards. They have served popes since the 16th century, operating mostly as a ceremonial escort to the pope. Swiss guardsmen must be Catholic males between the ages of nineteen and thirty years of age and at least 5' 9" tall. They must have the recommendation of their local parish and have served in a basic military school in Switzerland. They serve for a period of two years.
Father Kunst's relationship with the former commandant of the Guard resulted in many connections that are interesting stories for you to pursue on the Swiss Guard page of this web site. There is also a short history of this small band of soldiers provided there.
We honor the Swiss Guard and invite you to view fifteen items connected to their lives. The artifact shown here is one of the most unique stories in the Collection.
Leo XIII: A Swiss Guard Uniform Dating From His Pontificate 1878-1903
Oftentimes, Father Kunst’s story of the purchase of an item is as interesting as the purchase itself. The Swiss Guard uniform dating to Pope Leo XIII’s pontificate is one of them. This is an extremely rare item an... read more »
Have an item you would like to donate to the collection? Please contact us.
Benedict XV: Letter Giving Permission to Break the Eucharistic Fast
Letter to someone in his own hand, giving permission to break the Eucharistic fast because of dietary concerns. Signed as Pope, July 1st, 1918. This is an uncommon question to ask of a pope. read more »
Cardinal Eaneas Sylvius Piccolomini, the Future Pius II: The Oldest Signed Item in the Collection, Dated 1457
The letter is dated October 6th, 1457. It is simply signed, E, as the Cardinal of Siena. It is a letter to the City Council of Siena, recommending a particular man to be the Chief of Police (or Commander of the City Force... read more »
Benedict XVI: A Rosary and Case From Pope Benedict's Visit to the United States
In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI visited the United States. Archbishop Dennis Schnurr a friend of the Papal Artifacts' Expert, was given this rosary and its case as a gift from the pope. He in turn donated it to the Collection. ... read more »