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Vatican - Swiss Guard (Part II)

Last modified: 2017-09-04 by rob raeside
Keywords: vatican | holy see | swiss guard | vatican guard | catholic | pope |
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Part I (preceding page)

Part II (this page):

See also:


Historical Flags

Here are the Pontifical Swiss Guard colors for Popes Pius IX (obverse and reverse), Pius X, and John Paul II.  I photographed them about 1984 during a personal tour of the Swiss Guard barracks.  At that time, as you can see, the current Swiss Guard flag was displayed in the Captain Commander's office against the wall.  It is paraded for the annual swearing-in ceremony of new recruits each May, and perhaps a few other occasions.  On Vatican flag-flying days it is displayed inside the "Bronze Doors," which lead from St. Peter's Square to the Apostolic Palace via Cortile San Damaso.  With the death of John Paul II, it will now have to be replaced by a flag bearing the arms of the new pope.
Rev. William M. Becker, 4 April 2005

Arms of Pius X (together with the arms of Julius II) were part of the Swiss Guard's arms for the 400th anniversary in 1906. See www.schweizergarde.info.
James Dignan, 26 April 2005

The other arms are the arms of Pope Julius II, who founded the Swiss Guard in 1505. See members.tripod.com located by António.
Santiago Dotor, 25 April 2005

The terrible Giuliano Della Rovere (1443-1513, Pope Julius II in 1503) was more a warlord than a church man. He was elected after the shortest conclave ever, in less than one day, after having bought his election (which was admitted at that time). Julius II  reestablished the political power of the papacy in Italy and set up the Cambrai League against Venice in 1508, then the Holy League against France (1511-1512). His attempt of reforming the church during the Vth Council of Latran (1512) was not successful. Julius II was a patron and appointed the architect Bramante (1444-1514), who designed the Belvedere Courtyard and started the St. Peter's Basilica (1505); the painter, architect and sculptor Michelangelo Buonarotti (1475-1564), who made for the Pope's grave the two slaves (1513-1516) kept today in the Louvre Museum in Paris; and the painter Raffaello Sanzio (1483-1520), who painted frescos in the "rooms" of the Vatican and a famous portrait of the Pope, kept today in the Offici Museum in Florence.
The Della Rovere family is a famous Italian family. The movie director Roberto Rossellini (1906-1977) portrayed a descendant of the family member of the anti-fascist resistance and killed by the German forces in the movie "Il Generale Della Rovere" (1959). The name of Rovere recalls the oak, therefore the canting arms of the family. The Latin classical word "robur" evolved to "roborem", and gave the Provencal word '"rover" and the French words "roure" and "robre", today "rouvre". However, botanists, as usual, complicated the situation, and it seems that "Quercus robur" is now the pedunculated oak ("chene pédonculé"), whereas the "chene rouvre" has been reallocated to species "Q. petrae". The roots "roure" and "rouvre" have given several toponyms in France (Roure, Le Rouret, Rouvray, Grosrouvre...).
Ivan Sache, 28 April 2005

Swiss Guard Colors for Pius X

Flags has never existed. Pius X had completely rejected the flag draft. Repond presented the draft of the new flag design already in the year1912 . The pope Pius X was not open to the new ideas.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 9 June 2005

I believe there is an error in this contribution regarding the first version of Swiss Guard current flag design.
António Martins-Tuválkin states that Pope Pius X opposed the new (current) design sponsored by Commander Jules Repond, and would not authorize it. But according to my sources, that is not correct. The current version of the Swiss Guard flag was approved in the last year of the pontificate of Pius X, namely on November 1, 1913, by the Secretariat of State. It was designed by Robert Durrer, a Swiss archivist, and sponsored by Commander Jules Repond.  The flag was produced by a Swiss convent, and was blessed by Pius X on May 5, 1914, in time for use at the traditional swearing-in of new recruits the next day. Pius died a few months later. (Cf. Robert Walpen, La Guardia Svizzera Pontificia. Acriter et fideliter. Coraggio e fedeltà.  Second Edition. Locarno, Switzerland: Armando Dadò, 2005, p. 112-114.  Walpen reproduces Durrer's original sketch of the flag, and the note authorizing its use from the Secretariat of State.)
Here is an actual photo of this first version of the current Swiss Guard flag, from the pontificate of Pius X.  It was published in: "Die neue Fahne der Schweizergarde," Archives Héraldiques Suisses / Schweizerisches Archiv für Heraldik, vol. 28, no. 4 (Zürich: Imprimérie Schulthess & Co., 1914), p. 205-206 & Plate 5.
Rev. William M. Becker, STD, 13 July 2007

1913-1914

image by Jens Pattke, 19 February 2006
Rejected - With the Arms of Guard Commandant Jules Repond

Upper hoist: arms of  Pius X;  Center: Jules Repond, on black-white background (for Fribourg / Freiburg).
Source: www.schweizergarde.info.
Jens Pattke, 19 February 2006

Swiss Guard Colors for Benedictus XV

1914-1921

image by Jens Pattke, 19 February 2006
With the Arms of Guard Commandant Jules Repond

Upper hoist: arms of  Benedictus XV;  Center: Jules Repond, on black-white background (for Fribourg / Freiburg).
Source: re-construction.
Jens Pattke, 19 February 2006

1921-1922

image by Jens Pattke, 25 August 2007
With the Arms of Guard Commandant Alois Hirschbühl

Here is a photo of the Swiss Guards flag from the reign of Benedict XV, who followed Pius X, appeared in L'Illustrazione Vaticana, no. 11/1932 (attached).  Benedict's arms were simply painted over those of Pius X, which was a common practice in past centuries.  (cf. Vincenz Oertle.  "'… aux couleurs du pape régnant' – Die Fahne der Päpstlichen Schweizergarde," Zeitschrift für Heereskunde, number 419 [January/March 2006], p. 1-6.)
Rev. William M. Becker, STD, 13 July 2007

Upper hoist: arms of Benedictus XV. Center: arms of Alois Hirschbühl, on black-white-blue background (for Graubünden/Grischun).
Jens Pattke, 25 August 2007

Swiss Guard Colors for Pius XI

1922-1935

image by Jens Pattke, 25 August 2007
With the Arms of Guard Commandant Alois Hirschbühl

Upper hoist: arms of Pius XI. Center: arms of Alois Hirschbühl, on black-white-blue background (for Graubünden/Grischun).
Jens Pattke, 25 August 2007

1935-1939

image by Jens Pattke, 20 February 2006
With the Arms of Guard Commandant Georg von Sury d'Aspremont

upper hoist: arms of Pius XI center: arms of Georg von Sury d'Aspremont, on red- white background (for Solothurn).
Jens Pattke, 20 February 2006

Swiss Guard Colors for Pius XII

1939-1942

image by Jens Pattke, 20 February 2006
With the Arms of Guard Commandant Georg von Sury d'Aspremont

Upper hoist: arms of Pius XII. Center: arms of Georg von Sury d'Aspremont, on red- white background (for Solothurn).
Jens Pattke, 20 February 2006

1942-1957

image by Jens Pattke, 20 February 2006
With the Arms of Guard Commandant Heinrich Pfyffer von Altishofen

Upper hoist: arms of Pius XII. Center: arms of Heinrich Pfyffer von Altishofen, on white-blue background (for Luzern).
Source: www.chateau-de-penthes.ch
Jens Pattke, 20 February 2006

1957-1958

image by Jens Pattke, 23 January 2006
With the Arms of Guard Commandant Robert Nünlist

Upper hoist: arms of Pius XII. Center: arms of Robert Nünlist, on white-blue background (for Luzern).
Source: www.schweizergarde.info.
Jens Pattke, 23 January 2006

Swiss Guard Colors for John XXIII

1958-1963

image by Jens Pattke, 23 January 2006
With the Arms of Guard Commandant Robert Nünlist

Upper hoist: arms of John XXIII. Center: arms of Robert Nünlist, on white-blue background (for Luzern).
Source: www.schweizergarde.info.
Jens Pattke, 23 January 2006

Swiss Guard Colors for Paul VI

1963-1972

image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 12 June 2005
With the Arms of Guard Commandant Robert Nünlist

At www.schweizergarde.info this one is shown at the bottom (at the top of the page the 2002-2005 flag is shown). Not the differences in the tiara and at the tips of the estole, with red instead of the current golden. (Perhaps this was changed at the same time as the wreath around the central area?).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 12 June 2005

1972-1978

image by Jens Pattke, 26 August 2007
With the Arms of Guard Commandant Franz Pfyffer von Altishofen

Upper hoist: arms of Paul VI. Center: arms of Franz Pfyffer von Altishofen, on white-blue background (for Luzern).
Jens Pattke, 26 August 2007

Swiss Guard Colors for John Paul I (?)

1978

image by Jens Pattke, 11 June 2005
Unconfirmed !!!
With the Arms of Guard Commandant Franz Pfyffer von Altishofen

The usage of this flag of the Swiss Guard in 1978 is insecure. The pope John Paul I was only few days in the office. (26 August 1978 - 28 September 1978). I found no sources or photos about this flag.
Jens Pattke, 11 June 2005

Since the appointment of a new pope is a "surprise", the flags cannot be prepared beforehand. If this flag even existed, the process was quite fast.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 11 June 2005

The appointment of the new pope is a "surprise". But the Pope John Paul I already had an official coat of arms. The coat of arms was also illustrated on postage stamps of Vatican. With this fact was possible in theory new Guard flag. The use is not to be proved.
Jens Pattke, 12 June 2005

Swiss Guard Colors for John Paul II

1978-1982

image by Jens Pattke, 26 August 2007
With the Arms of Guard Commandant Franz Pfyffer von Altishofen

Upper hoist: arms of John Paul II. Center: arms of Franz Pfyffer von Altishofen, on white-blue background (for Luzern).
Jens Pattke, 26 August 2007

1982-1997

image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 7 June 2005
With the Arms of Guard Commandant Roland Buchs-Binz (1982-1997)

The Vatican Swiss Guard regimental flag used during (part of) John Paul II's reign, under the command of a previous colonel.
This flag differs from the (later) one we display above in the central disc, matching a different Commander Colonel: The background is black over white, for Fribourg canton, and the colonel's personal arms are diferent. There are also rendering diferences for the wreath ornament.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 7 June 2005

1997-1998 (not in official use)

image by Jens Pattke, 11 June 2005
Not in official use
With the Arms of Guard Commandant Alois Estermann

The commander Alois Estermann was a interim-commander colonel  since November 1997. Before the day of his murder, in May 4 1998, there was already a new flag of the Swiss Guard. It had been already produced but not presented yet officially. Also the flag was not consecrated yet by a cardinal or the pope John Paul II. However, the new badge of comm. Colonel Alois Estermann was already known to the public (See: Flag Bulletin No. 187 (1999) ; pp. 89-105). On the 5th May, 1997 the official job was taken over by the already resigned commander Roland Bush-Binz. During the next day, the sacco di Roma 1998,  the old Swiss Guard flag with the badge of Col. Bush-Binz was used.
Jens Pattke, 11 June 2005

1998-2002

image by Jens Pattke, 23 January 2006
With the Arms of Guard Commandant Pius Segmüller

Upper hoist: arms of John Paul II. Center: Pius Segmüller, on green-white background (for Sankt Gallen).
Source: www.schweizergarde.info.
Jens Pattke, 23 January 2006

2002-2005

image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 25 April 2005
With the Arms of Guard Commandant Elmar Theodor Mäder

A very detailed image (and its detail) of Swiss Guard colors for John Paul II at www.schweizergarde.info, reported by Rev. William M. Becker.
António Martins-Tuválkin
, 20 April 2005

The upper hoist shows the J.P.II arms, with the shield in the typical italian capo di cavallo (horse head) shield shape and oversized keys. The central arms are set on a green and white vertical bicolor disc area, encircled in a stylized symmetrical wreath of 20 green leaves: Ogival shield sable and or per fess a six pointed star of the latter in dexter chief overall a scythe proper per counter-bend. Closed helm with panache.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 25 April 2005

The other arms are the arms of Pope Julius II, who founded the Swiss Guard in 1505. See members.tripod.com located by António.
Santiago Dotor, 25 April 2005

Unidentified

It seems that in the photo that we have, central arms seems to be Alois Estermann's and papal arms Paulus VI's, which is anachronical. Can somebody identify it?
António Martins-Tuválkin, 20 September 2005

I "examined" it and it seems to me like a very strange Jonh XIII/Robert Nünlist flag. The Pope's arms, in chief, have the St. Mark's Lion in gold above a black field (the field was supposed to be white! none of the Popes which used the former Diocese's simbol in the coat of arms, ussually former archbishops of Milan or Patriarches of Venice, has a black field). As for the St. Mark's Lion, for me, seems the right choice (Milan's eagle is black above gold, and Paul VI didn't used it).
The coat of arms seems like Jonh XXIII (the turret in the middle), but the colours are also changed: the upper and lower stripes are red, and the middle one, silver.
But there's a curiouse note: the foto is taken for behind the flag (look at the feet of the guard), so the changes could be explained as the Swiss' Flags, as the Papal Tapestries, are hand-maded. sometimes, the crosslining can do this chages at the backyard...
Bruno F. C. Alexandre, 23 January 2007


Swiss Guard Colors for Benedict XVI

image by Luis Miguel Arias Perez, 7 December 2008
Swiss Guard Colors for Benedict XVI

image by Luis Miguel Arias Perez, 7 December 2008
Detail (Arms of Guard Commandant Daniel Rudolf Anrig)

Following the resignation of Elmar Mäder, a new commandant of the Swiss Guard has been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI.
The new commandant, Daniel Rudolf Anrig (aged 36 and up to now the head of the canton's police of Glarus), took up his post on 1 December 2008, and the new colours of the Swiss Guard were blessed during the ceremony.
The new colours differ from the old ones by the central emblem, which bears the coat of arms of Daniel Anrig instead of the coat of arms of Elmar Mäder.
The colours can be seen on a photo (EPA agency) published on the "Mail Online" website.
Since Anrig, like Mäder, being from Sankt Gallen, the green and white circular background of the shield was not changed.
Ivan Sache, 1 December 2008

About the new commandant see here. Blessing of the flag ceremony, with pictures of the flag (in French) at www.schweizergarde.org.
Luis Miguel Arias Perez, 7 December 2008

Previous colors (2005-2008)

image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 9 May 2005
Previous Swiss Guard Colors for Benedict XVI

image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 25 April 2005
Previous Detail (Arms of Guard Commandant Elmar Theodor Mäder)

Here is the new Swiss Guard flag from story.news.yahoo.com.
Zachary Harden, 6 May 2005

The image is simply shown the expected new version of the Papal Guard flag: I.e., identical to the previous Swiss Guard Colors for John Paul II but with Benedict XVI's arms replacing John Paul II's. Note that the side areas of the shield are both or, and the central one is gules, whereas previously sent images shown different color patterns. The photo shown clearly the same central Coat of Arms too.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 9 May 2005

My father recently bought a book about the Swiss Guard: Antonio Serrano Die Schweizergarde des Papstes. (2005) Dachau (Bayerland).
The current colours are shown several times in this book (on the cover, p. 42, p. 146, p. 148, p. 152). A detailed photo is shown on p. 141.
M. Schmöger, 27 May 2006

See also: Vatican (Holy See) - Personal Flag and Arms of Benedict XVI


 
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