BICENTENARY OF THE GENDARMERIE CORPS OF VATICAN CITY STATE

BICENTENARY OF THE GENDARMERIE CORPS OF VATICAN CITY STATE  

This year marks the bicentenary of the Gendarmerie Corps, the distinguished corps that offers constant watch over Vatican City and the extraterritorial areas belonging to the Holy See. The Corps ensures the security of these places, maintains public order, and works to prevent and stop crime, in addition to carrying out duties as judicial and border police. Pope Pius VII established the force in 1816 after the Congress of Vienna led to the restoration of the Papal States. He first called it the “executive force”, and later renamed it the “Papal Carabinieri Corps”, working initially under the direction of the Ministry of the Army, and later, after the fall of the Roman Republic, under the Cardinal President, participating in efforts to defend the Papal States. In 1970, when Pope Paul VI abolished all the military corps with the exception of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, the Gendarmerie achieved its definitive status as a Corps providing security for the Pope with the duties to “defend the territory of Vatican City State, provide the services of a police force, ensure internal order and security, and monitor observance of the laws of the State, its regulations and ordinances issued by the public authorities (Art. 1, Law no. LXVII of 15 December). The Philatelic and Numismatic Office entrusted to artist Cynthia Capuano the design of a series of stamps to mark the anniversary. The series consists of two values, one depicting a papal gendarme in ceremonial uniform with the Vatican gardens in the background, and the other a gendarme wearing the current uniform with the beauty of St. Peter’s Square as part of the scenery. Reflected in both works are their discipline, professionalism, and total dedication to their work, indispensable characteristics for a Corps providing the Pope constant protection, whether in Vatican City or during his travels in Italy and throughout the world.