INTRODUCTION: The Vatican City has once again held one of its most colourful annual ceremonies -- the swearing-in of new members of the Swiss Guard.
GV Bishop inspecting ranks of Swiss Guards
SV PULL BACK TO GV Bishop speaking in Italian
SV PULL BACK TO GV Bishop continues speaking PAN TO audience seated at side of piazza
GV Guard at attention as pennant carried past and in front of them
SV Guard officer approaches, grasps pole of pennant, raises arms and swears allegiance. He retires and another guard comes forward to repeat ceremonial
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The Vatican City has once again held one of its most colourful annual ceremonies -- the swearing-in of new members of the Swiss Guard. The act of pageantry attracts numerous residents and visitors of Rome, in which the Vatican City is situated.
SYNOPSIS: One of the four bishops who officiate at the ceremony inspects the guard. On May the 6th each year, the guardsmen turn out in full ceremonial dress to commemorate the sack of Rome in 1527, when 153 of the corps were killed defending Pope Clement the Seventh. New recruits take their oath on this day, swearing to defend the Pope to the death. The Guard, under formal jurisdiction of the Pope, looks after internal order and security of Vatican City, its palaces and the Papal villa at Castel Gandolfo.
The Guards' pennant comes out for the swearing-in ceremony in Saint Damasco courtyard. Called in Italian The Guardia Svizzera, it was introduced more than 400 years ago by Pope Julius the Second, and its members are Swiss citizens.
It isn't easy to recruit young Swiss men because pay is high and unemployment small in their homeland. In the Guard, pay is low, discipline tough, and some of their duties tedious. Most leave after completing their two-year term. The Guard is all that remains of the pontifical military corps which Popes once used to protect their now-vanished temporal powers.
Their dress of slashed blue, red and yellow tunics is said to have been designed by Michelangelo. Each year, guards have to turn away, politely but firmly, hundreds of tourists and curious visitors who try to slip through the Vatican gates.