Because of the swearing-in ceremony (Giuramento) I had the chance to see different buildings inside the Vatican without standing for hours in the long queues.
- Apostolic Palace
- Sistine Chapel
- Basilica di San Pietro
- Aula Paolo VI
The Apostolic Palace (Italian: Palazzo Apostolico) is the official residence of the Pope, which is located in Vatican City.
I had the chance to see two rooms. In one, a very pompous hall, the Pope used to welcome the kings of various countries. In the other room, the Pope welcomed the Dukes and Barons.
The Sistine Chapel is a large and renowned chapel of the Apostolic Palace. Today it is the site of the Papal conclave, the process by which a new Pope is selected. The fame of the Sistine Chapel lies mainly in the frescos that decorate the interior, and most particularly the Sistine Chapel ceiling and The Last Judgment by Michelangelo.
Basilica di San Pietro
Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and remains one of the largest churches in the world.
Aula Paolo VI
The Paul VI Audience Hall (Italian: Aula Paolo VI) is a building in Rome named for Pope Paul VI with a seating capacity of 6,300, designed in reinforced concrete by the Italian architect Pier Luigi Nervi and completed in 1971. It lies partially in the Vatican City but mostly in Italy: the Italian part of the building is treated as an extraterritorial area of the Holy See and is used by the Pope as an alternative to Saint Peter’s Square when conducting his Wednesday morning General Audience
Giuramento on May 6 (every year) was a super experience. I thought about it as a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it was definitely worth it.
The Pontifical Swiss Guard is responsible for the safety of the Pope, including the security of the Apostolic Palace. The Guard serves as the de facto military of Vatican City.
The force has varied greatly in size over the years and has even been disbanded. Its first, and most significant, hostile engagement was on May 6, 1527, when 147 of the 189 Guards, including their commander, died fighting the troops of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in the stand of the Swiss Guard during the Sack of Rome in order to allow Clement VII to escape through the Passetto di Borgo, escorted by the other 40 guards. New guards are sworn on May 6 every year – the anniversary of the Sack of Rome – in the San Damaso Courtyard (Italian: Cortile di San Damaso) in the Vatican.
“I swear I will faithfully, loyally and honourably serve the Supreme Pontiff Francis and his legitimate successors, and also dedicate myself to them with all my strength, sacrificing if necessary also my life to defend them. I assume this same commitment with regard to the Sacred College of Cardinals whenever the see is vacant. Furthermore I promise to the Commanding Captain and my other superiors, respect, fidelity and obedience. This I swear! May God and our Holy Patrons assist me!”
The ceremony took around 1.5 hours. In the evening was Santa Messa at Basilica di San Pietro in all 4 spoken languages of Switzerland and in addition also in Latin. Afterwards we had a fancy true Italian dinner consisting of Antipasti, Primo and Secondo Piatto, Dolce and of course a Limoncello to finish.
If you ever have wondered where the money you pay to the church has been gone, just visit the Vatican and you will immediately see… 😀
- Source: All the short descriptions of Apostolic Palace, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Church and Aura Paolo VI were taken from Wikipedia on May 10, 2014.