Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Päpstlichen Schweizergarde

I once entertained the idea of being a Pontifical Swiss Guard, it was something the appealed to me, but I didn't meet some of the requirements. I had the Catholic part covered, the irreproachable reputation (I guess), was a male, and celibate. Unfortunately I missed the mark with my nationality and military training (both being American and not Swiss). The kicker though, the dagger in my heart, was that I wasn't tall enough. What a drag, I bet I could have been uber formidable with a halberd.

The fellow above is a Hellebardier (Halberdier, equivalent to a Private) wearing the Gala uniform which is supplemented with a black or silver morion helmet for special occasions. For Easter, Christmas and at the swearing-in ceremonies additional armor is worn. For everyday duties they wear an all blue uniform. I'm not sure if Corporals or Vizekorporal wear the same uniform as the Hellebardiers, but I'm assuming they do. Drummers were a yellow-black uniform when they are performing. Wachtmeisters (Sergeants) and Feldwebel (Sergeant Majors) wear a black and dark red version of the uniform. The officers have their own thing going on.

Don't let the 17th century weapons fool you, the Swiss Guard are not just human adornments filling a ceremonial role, they are actual a highly trained security force that utilize modern small arms manufactured by Heckler & Koch and SIG Sauer.


  1. You should see National Geographic's documentary "Inside the Vatican." They give a decent history of the guard. Ety Cicioni, when he first started the job as Vatican tailor, had no patterns to go by or instructions! He had to dismantle one of the Guard's finished uniforms to figure out how to make them!

  2. I think the weapons are to protect themselves from amorous female admirers