VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has promoted the No. 2 officer of the Swiss Guards to commander of the colorful, 500-year-old army, whose members take an oath to protect pontiffs.
The Vatican announced on Saturday that Lt. Col. Christoph Graf will now command the guardsmen, who stand vigilant during papal ceremonies.
Graf, who joined the Guards in 1987, takes the place of Col. Daniel Anrig, who had been commander since 2008.
Francis didn't say why he asked Anrig to step down, and Anrig said in a recent interview he didn't ask why he was sent packing. There were reports that Anrig's style, described as severe, didn't synch with Francis' informality.
Anrig noted the Guards' security responsibilities expanded with Francis' decision to live in a Vatican hotel instead of in the Apostolic Palace.