New Commander for Swiss Guard

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 21, 2008 ( Benedict XVI appointed Daniel Anrig, 36, as the commander of the world's smallest army.

Anrig, from Walenstadt, Switzerland, will hold the five-year post of commander with the rank of colonel. He is married and has four children. He will take office on Dec. 1, though his appointment was announced by the Holy See on Tuesday.

Anrig served the Holy See as a Swiss Guard from 1992 to 1994.

After returning to his homeland, in 1999 he obtained a degree in Civil and Ecclesiastical Law from the University of Fribourg. He was an assistant professor of civil law in the same university from 1999 to 2001.

He then spent four years as chief of criminal police and later general commander of Glarona's police force.

Colonel Anrig replaced Elmar Maeder, who held the post since 2002.

The Swiss Guard is made up of 110 soldiers and a chaplain. It was established by Pope Julius II (1503-1513).

The work of the Swiss Guard is complemented by the Corps of Gendarmes, established in 1816 by Pope Pius VII. This corps has 160 members of Italian nationality.