This is the swearing in of the new Swiss Guards recruits. The Pontifical Swiss Guard protects the Pope and his residence since 1506.
It is celebrated every year on the anniversary of the Sack of Rome, which took place on 6 May 1527. The ceremony takes place in the Saint Damasus courtyard (Topographical Map no. 6) or in the Paul VI Audience Hall, at which the Chaplain of the Swiss Guards starts by reading the oath. The recruits, called by name, then step forward and place their left hand on the Swiss Guard flag and raise their right hand with three fingers open to symbolise the Trinity. They then make their confirmation and take oath, reciting the following words: “I swear I will faithfully, loyally and honourably serve all that has been read to me thus far. May God and our Holy Patrons assist me”.
The Heads of Mission may take part in the ceremony accompanied by their spouse.