President Schneider-Ammann to meet the Pope and new Swiss Guards

Press release, 02.05.2016

Bern, 02.05.2016 - On Friday, 6 May, President Johann N. Schneider-Ammann will attend the swearing-in ceremony of the Papal Swiss Guard at the Vatican and then meet the newly sworn-in guards and their families. The president will also meet with a delegation from the canton of Glarus, this year’s guest canton. Meetings with Pope Francis and Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, Minister of Foreign Affairs, are scheduled for Saturday, 7 May.

Copyright EDA/DFAE
Kurt Reichenbach

Issues on the agenda during the official discussions include migration to Europe, the search for peace in the Middle East and the prevention of violent extremism. The talks will also cover bilateral relations between Switzerland and the Holy See and the situation of the Roman Catholic Church and of the other religions in Switzerland. Also among the Swiss delegation due to meet the Pope on Saturday is National Council president Christa Markwalder.

The Papal Swiss Guard was founded in 1506 by Pope Julius II; it answers to the Pope, ensures his security and performs ceremonial duties. New Swiss Guards are traditionally sworn in on 6 May to commemorate the 147 soldiers who fell during the Sack of Rome in 1527.

The swearing-in ceremony is usually attended by senior figures from the government, the armed forces and the church. Council of States president Raphaël Comte is also expected to be present at the Vatican on Friday.

Media release