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Swiss Guard

Formed in 1506 by Pope Julius II, it is entrusted with the personal protection of the pontiff. Members of the corps must be Swiss in nationality, Roman Catholic in faith, and eligible for service in the Swiss army. There are about sixty guards in all, and since the disbanding of three other corps of papal guards in 1970 they remain the only military order in the Vatican. The Guard retains its colorful Renaissance costumes, and although members are trained in the use of modern weapons they carry only the halberd and broadsword.