“Soldiers of the Pope” offers a first-time, exclusive visit behind Vatican walls that details the history, traditions and daily life of the smallest army in the world, the Swiss Guard, whose duty is to defend the Holy Father at any cost, even if it means giving their own lives. The film captures the highlights of a typical year for the Swiss Guard, including their ceremonial duties and some more intimate moments. Their story is told through the lives of the members of the Swiss Guard, offering a window into the Vatican that many have not yet seen.
In 1981, the beloved Pope Jean Paul II was visiting with parishioners in St. Peter’s Square when the unexpected happened. Gunshots were fired, and he was shot. Thankfully, his armed guard quickly took action and removed him from the scene, rushing him to the hospital where surgeons saved his life. The Vatican, the Pope’s home and the headquarters of the Catholic church, is a neutral, independent state located within Rome, Italy. As this event proved in 1981, even the neutral and religious Pope needs protection, which is why he has a small army of his own, the Swiss Guard.“Soldiers of the Pope” tells the history of the Pope’s soldiers, the Swiss Guard. These men rarely face action but are trained mentally and physically to protect the Pope, the clergy at the Vatican, and the all-important dignitary guests of the Vatican. Soldiers of the Swiss Guard have four requirements: they must be practicing Catholics, they must be Swiss, they must be at least 19 years of age, and they must be trained by the Switzerland military school. These soldiers respect the traditions of Catholicism and the Guard and recognize the honor of serving in this capacity, even at the risk of their own lives. This fascinating historical documentary is enlightening for the common person who has never heard about what goes on behind the scenes at the Vatican. This film is simple and enjoyable to watch for people of all religious backgrounds. “Soldiers of the Pope: The Story of the Swiss Guard” earns the “Faith Friendly” seal of approval from The Dove Foundation, with the recommendation that viewers are at least 12 years old, due to a mildly graphic photo of the injured Pope Jean Paul II.