Today, Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, patron of the Corps of the Gendarmerie, a commemorative ceremony will be held on the square in front of the Governorate of Vatican City State. The event will be attended by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and by a number of civil and military authorities of the Italian State.
"The Gendarmerie, in co-ordination with the Swiss Guard, are responsible for the security of the Supreme Pontiff", says a communique on the event released today. "They also function as a police force, control the territory of the State and oversee public order twenty-four hours a day, every day. ... In 2008 Vatican City State became a member of the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL)".
During this afternoon's ceremony Prince Sforza Ruspoli will give the Gendarmerie a flag which has been in the possession of the Sforza Ruspoli family since 1870. Yesterday, in the course of a private audience with the Holy Father, the prince gave him the flag as a gift in memory of the pontifical troops who fell in the defence of Rome in 1870. It will be put on display in the Historical Museum of the Lateran Palace.