"Swiss guard requirements" Vatican City Things to Do Tip by GentleSpirit

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Membership in the Swiss Guard is considered a privilege. The Swiss Guard has long since ceased to be a mercenary force, rather it is a standing unit drawn from the Swiss military forces. I don't remember hearing who they are actually paid by.

Requirements for membership are:
1. Swiss citizenship
2. Practicing Roman Catholic
3. Good moral ethical background
4. Between the ages of 19 and 30
5. at least 174 cm tall
6. Unmarried
7. Attended military school in Switzerland
8. Professional degree of high school diploma

Some things I noticed:
The Swiss Guards site (http://www.gardesuisse.va/requirements-2.html)
-the requirement of Swiss nationality seems to be more a preference. Dual citizenship allowed?
-Unmarried male- Guards are housed in dormitories and then double or triple apartments.
-this site seems to require celibacy. based on the reasons that they must live in the Vatican and there are limited opportunities for socialising. There are requirements to be allowed to marry.

Our guide told us additionally that membership in the Swiss Guard is something that is seen as a very high status thing and therefore a lot of the more important families like to have a son in the guard.

Interestingly, I saw one non-white Swiss guard on the day I visited the Vatican.

Website: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/swiss_guard/swissguard/ammissione_en.htm

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 1, 2013
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