The Vatican Gendarmerie Corps Celebrates 200 Years of Serving the Holy Father

Source: FSSPX News

In 2016, the Vatican Gendarmerie celebrated the anniversary of its foundation. A documentary has been produced by the Holy See on the men of Vatican City’s police corps, showing the daily life of those who ensure the security of the smallest State in the world.

This documentary entitled “Guard and Protect” was made for the two-hundredth anniversary of the creation of the Vatican Gendarmerie Corps. Less famous than the Swiss Guards, they are present everywhere in Vatican territory. The corps was created on July 14, 1816, by Pope Pius VII, after the Congress of Vienna approved the restoration of the Papal States.

Initially the “Corps of the Papal Carabinieri”, the Gendarmerie acquired the status of a corps for the protection of the sovereign pontiff in 1970, with the mission of “defending the territory of Vatican City State, exercising the inherent functions of police service, internal order and security, and ensuring the observation of the State’s laws, and the rules and orders of the public authorities” (art. 1 of the law of December 15, 1970). At the time it was attached to a “Surveillance Bureau”, and would only become its own corps in 2002.

The documentary, with its many personal testimonies presents the gendarmes at the beginning of their service, at dawn or during the night shifts, patrolling every last corner of the Papal State or flanking the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

It offers photos from archives including the first journey of a modern pope outside of the Vatican, when John XXIII traveled to the sanctuary of Loreto, Paul VI’s journey to the Holy Land, the attack on John Paul II, etc.

With Francis, who loves to be as close as possible to people, the Vatican Gendarmerie admits they have had to revise their way of working, in order to provide better protection for the successor of Peter, in collaboration with the Pontifical Swiss Guard.