Saturday, January 21, 2006

Vatican Marks 500th Anniversary of Guards

"Five hundreds years ago, mercenaries marched from Switzerland to Rome to aid Pope Julius II, and the Vatican is readying concerts, exhibits and celebrations to mark the half millennium of the Swiss Guards, who still protect the pontiff.

The Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, will celebrate Mass Sunday in the frescoed Sistine Chapel for current guards and their families, and afterward Pope Benedict XVI will offer a special blessing to an honor corps in St. Peter's Square.

It is the launch of six months of commemorations in Italy and Switzerland that will culminate with a symbolic re-enactment of the march from Switzerland to Rome of the first 150 Swiss mercenaries to fight Pope Julius II's temporal battles in 1506."

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