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New helmets for the Swiss Guard: In addition to the everyday headgear , the beret , the Pontifical Swiss Guard wear a splendid helmet of polished steel the so-called Morion for major festivals. For the corps to equip each soldier with a complete uniform, the procurement of 25 such new helmets is necessary.
Each helmet is forged by hand according to traditional craftsmanship. The helmet is carefully forged out of a single steel plate. The coat of arms of Julius II which marks every helmet is not stamped into the metal, rather artfully carved into it by hand. Each helmet becomes thus a unique masterpiece.
Renovation of the Swiss chapel in the church of Santa Maria della Pietà in the Teutonic Cemetery (Saint Mary of Mercy in the Vatican’s German cemetery): A document dated May 16, 1520 sealed the transfer of rights of use of the front left side chapel in the church of Santa Maria della Pietà to the Pontifical Swiss Guard. The area is thus regarded as the first Swiss Guards Chapel (The guard was founded in 1506). In addition to the regular religious services being held there, it also served as a burial ground for the Swiss Guards.
The Swiss Chapel with its ornate murals is a historically gem worth preserving in the sparsely decorated church of S. Maria della Pietà. Renovations in the rest of the Church have all but erased the original beauty and richness of its history. Now the Swiss Guard Chapel is also in need of repair: the 500-year-old plaster walls suffer from enormous moisture-related damage. With the renovation of this one-of-a-kind artwork, the Swiss Guard has the opportunity to contribute to the preservation of both the history of the Vatican and the heritage of its corps.
Additional projects of the Foundation for the benefit of the Pontifical Swiss Guard:
- Exploratory visits for prospective recruits from Switzerland
- Participation in the International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes