VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While the Swiss Guard’s halberds and uniforms have remained largely unchanged over the centuries, its ceremonial helmets are now a product of 21st-century technology.
The four-pound, hand-forged metal helmet has been replaced with new lightweight headgear. Still crafted in the “morion” style of the Renaissance and topped with a fluffy red or white ostrich feather, it is now made using a 3D printer and tough, weather-resistant ASA thermoplastic — the same material often used for automotive exterior parts.
The Swiss Guards used the new helmets during a special ceremony Jan. 22 at the Vatican commemorating the 513th anniversary of their foundation. Pope Julius II requested a contingent of Swiss soldiers to protect the pope and his palace in 1505 and the first Swiss soldiers arrived at the gates of Rome Jan. 22, 1506.
The Swiss Guard — made up of 110 soldiers — is the smallest and oldest military corps in the world. The men guard all entrances into Vatican City State as well as keep watch over the pope and his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
They also provide security and ceremonial services during liturgical events and visits of heads of state and other dignitaries to the Vatican. A behind-the-scenes look at their ceremonial and honor duties was featured in a new video Jan. 22 as part of an ongoing series about the life and work of the guard. The series can be found on their YouTube channel “Guardia Svizzera Pontificia GSP.”
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103