Saturday, May 5, 2007

480th. Anniversary of the Sack of Rome

Swiss Guard

May 6th

In the year 1527 an Imperial army numbering 35,000 troops of largely mercenary Lutheran soldiers, was sent to the north of Italy, at the time the southern most point of the Holy Roman Empire to defeat the attempts of Francis I of France to gain a foothold in Italy. Though successful in their mission, the Imperial army mutinied after the Emperor failed to raise sufficient funds to pay its troops. The soldiers noting that Rome was not far off, set out for the Holy City in hopes of finding loot. Arriving at the gates of Rome on the 5th of May the Imperial army quickly entered the city. The next day the Lutherans were at the walls of the Vatican. The Swiss Guard, the personal guards of the Pope were able to safely lead Pope Clement VII out of the Vatican and into the safety of Castelo Sant'Angelo. Of the 189 guards only 42 survived, and to this date the anniversary of the sack of Rome, on which the memory of the valiant defense of the person of the Vicar of Christ is recalled by all Romans, the Guards make their oath of fidelity to the Sovereign Pontiff.

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