VATICAN CITY ( Associated Press) – The body of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, his head resting on a pair of red pillows, was laid Monday in St. Peter’s Basilica, and thousands bid farewell to the pontiff who shook the world. Crowded the campus to give. His decision to retire a decade ago.
At dawn, 10 white-gloved Pontifical Knights—adjutants to pontiffs and pontifical households—carried the body on a cloth-covered wooden stretcher to its resting place in front of the main altar in the basilica, impaling Bernini. Went. Bronze umbrella.
A Swiss guard entered the body through a side door after Benedict XVI’s remains, carried in a van, were transferred from the chapel of the monastery complex where he died on Saturday morning at the age of 95.
For many years his secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, and a handful of pious women who served in Benedict XVI’s household followed the van on foot for a few hundred meters in silent procession towards the basilica. Some women respectfully extended their hands to touch the body.
Before pedestrians entered the basilica, prayers were recited and the archpriest of the basilica, Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, sprinkled holy water on the body, and a small cloud of incense was released near the sarcophagus. Benedict XVI’s hands were bound and he had a rosary between his fingers.
Shortly after 9am (0800 GMT), the basilica’s doors opened to the public, some of whom had waited for hours in the pre-dawn haze to pay their respects to the late pontiff, who retired as pope in 2013. The first to do so in 600 years.
The faithful and the curious, after waiting in a line winding around St. Peter’s Square at mid-morning, the public walked swiftly down the central aisle to pass the coffin with its clothes on.
Benedict XVI’s body was dressed in a miter, a bishop’s cap, and a scarlet cloak.
Filippo Tuccio, 35, arrived from Venice on an overnight train with the body.
“I wanted to honor Benedict because of the important role he played in my life and my education. After leaving Venice last night, I arrived here around 7:30,” Tuccio said.
Public access to St Peter’s Basilica will last for 10 hours on Monday. A twelve-hour vigil is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday before the funeral on Thursday morning, which will be presided over by Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square.
In accordance with Benedict’s wishes, the funeral will be marked by simplicity, the Vatican said in announcing the death on Saturday.
On Monday, the Vatican confirmed plans for a mass burial. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said that in accordance with his wishes, Benedict’s tomb would be placed in the grotto crypt beneath the basilica, which was last used by Saint John Paul II before the saint’s body was reburied for his beatification in 2011. Before the Annunciation was carried upstairs in the main basilica. Said.
Security officials expected at least 25,000 people to pass by the body on the first day of the holiday. Italian state television said that some 10,000 people had seen Benedict XVI’s body after about four hours.
Trisha Thomas and Nicole Winfield contributed to this report.