Pontifical Swiss Guards have arrived in Peru to inspect security measures for Pope Francis' visit on January 18-21.
Throughout history, Popes and the Vatican have been threatened by power and ambition wars.
For that reason, Pope Sixtus IV entered into an agreement with the Swiss Confederation to recruit mercenaries who would work as security guards.
The Pontifical Swiss Guard
was officially established on January 21, 1506 —under Pope Julius II and after a number of reforms— to serve as the military corps of Vatican City due to its reputation as best soldiers in Europe.
With a little more than 100 soldiers, the Swiss Guard is the smallest professional army in the world.
Its members are trained in self-defense, as well as in defensive techniques used to protect heads of state.
The commander is the military corps' top authority. He is joined by a vice-commander, a chaplain, a lieutenant colonel, a major, two captains, 23 noncommissioned officers, 70 halberdiers, and 2 drummers.
Pope's visit to Peru
On the following day, the Holy Father will travel to Puerto Maldonado, capital of rainforest Madre de Dios region.
On January 20, he will head to La Libertad region's capital city of Trujillo, located in Peru's northern coast.
According to the schedule, the Supreme Pontiff will hold a multitudinous mass at Lima's Las Palmas Air Base
on January 21.
This will be the first time —in almost 30 years— that a Pope visits Peru
. As is known, Pope John Paul II traveled to the Inca country back in May 1988.