Vatican: Pope Francis appoints new head of security

The papal protection force has a new boss: Martin Kurmann, last in the service of the Lucerne police, was appointed by Pope Francis to the Major of the Swiss Guard.

Pope Francis has appointed Martin Kurmann as the new Major of the Swiss Guard. This was announced by the Vatican on its website. The 35-year-old from the canton of Lucerne served already in the papal protection troop from 2003 to 2005. He completed his further professional career with the Swiss Armed Forces and the Lucerne Police, currently head of training and further education. According to the Swiss Dispatching Agency, Kurmann follows Lorenzo Merga, who was therefore 22 years in the service of the papal guard.

According to the press office of the Swiss Guard, Kurmann will be in charge of commanding a squadron and, as security chief, assume responsibility for service deployment, operations, operations center and planning. Commander of the troop is Colonel Christoph Graf (57), the office of Vice Commander and Chief of Staff has Lieutenant Colonel Philippe Morard (46).

The papal Swiss Guard claims to have existed for more than 500 years. Since a request of the then Pope Julius II. She is responsible since 1506 for the protection of the popes. Confederate soldiers were considered to be particularly courageous and "invincible" because of their "noble spirit and proverbial loyalty," according to the troop's homepage.