Vatican City, Dec 16, 2020 / 06:00 am
The Swiss government agreed last week to give $5.66 million toward the renovation of the Swiss Guard barracks at the Vatican.
The Swiss Federal Council, the highest executive authority in the country, is giving the funds in 2020 in honor of the 100th anniversary of Switzerland’s resumption of diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
The five million Swiss francs from the government are just a small part of the renovation’s overall budget of 55 million Swiss francs ($62.27 million).
The renewal project will include all three barracks buildings. Two buildings are currently used as accommodation for the unmarried guards and for the canteen. The third building has administrative offices and housing for married officers with families.
Fundraising for the renovation of the Swiss Guard barracks has been underway since 2016, through the creation of a Switzerland-based charitable foundation.
Twenty million Swiss francs have been raised toward the project so far, foundation president Jean-Pierre Roth told CNA. The renovation is still in the planning phase, he said, with work scheduled to start in 2023.
According to the foundation, the guard’s quarters have only undergone minor changes since their construction in the early 1800s, leading to high maintenance costs and the need for major repairs and updates.