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Thursday, December 8, 2016
First non-white joins Swiss Guard
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 Yesterday afternoon, 33 new recruits to the Pontifical Swiss Guard took oaths of allegiance to the Pope in the Vatican City's San Damaso courtyard. Among them was their first-ever non-white recruit: Dhani Bachmann, who is of Indian origin, and comes from the canton of Lucerne. He was adopted at pre-school age by Swiss parents and has spent his entire life since in Switzerland. The Pontifical Swiss Guard, founded by Pope Julius II in 1506, is currently made up of 110 volunteers recruited from all the Swiss cantons to defend the person and the residence of the Pontiff. Their duties also include guarding the various entrances to Vatican City, security services and forming an honour guard during the Holy Father's religious and diplomatic activities. In addition to serving within the Vatican, a number of guards always accompany the Pope on his journeys. The corps includes four officers, 26 non-commissioned officers, 79 halberdiers, and one chaplain. Terms are for two years, with the possibility of renewing for another two-year period, up to a maximum of 20 years. The swearing-in ceremony commemorates the death of 147 guards who gave their lives in defence of Pope Clement VII on the same date in the year 1527. Source: VIS
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