January 27, 2023

This photograph taken outside The Vatican, on December 31, 2022, shows a picture of the late former Pope Benedict XVI, following the announcement of his death. - Former Pope Benedict XVI has died at the age of 95, the Vatican announced on December 31, 2022, almost a decade after he became the first pontiff to resign in six centuries. The German pope emeritus, whose birth name was Joseph Ratzinger, had been living a quiet life in a former convent inside the Vatican grounds since his shock decision to step down in February 2013. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

The Pontifical Swiss Guard said it was deeply saddened by the death on Saturday of former pope Benedict XVI, saying it was a great honour to have served him throughout his papacy.
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The Pontifical Swiss Guard said it was deeply saddened by the death on Saturday of former pope Benedict XVI, saying it was a great honour to have served him throughout his papacy.



The Swiss Guards are the pope’s colourfully-dressed personal protection force.

“It was with great sadness that we heard the news of the death of our Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI,” the Pontifical Swiss Guard said.

“It was a great honour for all the guardsmen who served during his eight years as head of the Catholic Church to be able to serve him. Requiem.”

The Swiss Guards were created in 1506 by pope Julius II.

They are a popular tourist magnet at the Vatican, with their showy yellow, red and blue uniforms, halberds — an axe-like weapon — and metal helmets with ostrich plumage.



Swiss Guards must all be men between 19 and 30 years old and at least 1.74 metres (5.7 feet) tall. They must be practising Roman Catholics, Swiss, and unmarried at the time of signing up.

The 135 guards commit to safeguarding the pope for at least 26 months.

Former pope Benedict died at the age of 95, almost a decade after he became the first pontiff to resign in six centuries.

rjm/gw

© Agence France-Presse

 

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