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Pope Benedict’s historic funeral led by Pope Francis

The funeral of Pope Benedict XVI was held at Vatican. This is the first time that a funeral for a former pope will be presided over by a pope in hundreds of centuries.

Benedict’s body was on display in St Peter’s Basilica before the service. It was dressed in rosary beads and robes, which allowed thousands of mourners to file past.

As the proces began, Benedict’s coffin was carried out of the church by pallbearers who placed it in front of an altar at St Peter’s Square.

The vast space was home to thousands of people, including royalty, heads of state and clergy from all over the globe.


Pope Francis, 86 years old, arrived in a wheelchair wearing the crimson vestments of papal funerals. He began the ceremony with the introduction rites.

Francis opened the service with a prayer, and then closed it one hour later with solemnly blessing its casket – which was only decorated with the coat of arms of the former pope.

During the homily Francis seemed to compare Benedict with Jesus. He also said his last words before his death on the cross when he said, “Father! I commend your spirit into my hands.”

More about Pope Benedict

The current Pope didn’t dwell on Benedict’s specific legacy, and only once mentioned his name.

He stated: “Benedict faithful friend of Jesus, may your joy be complete when you hear his voice now and forever,” before adding, “Commend our brother in the hands of God.”

After a silence, before the universal prayers, the words “for Pope Benedict, who has fallen asleep in God, may the eternal shepherd accept him into his kingdom light and peace” were read.

‘Santo Subito! ‘

During the service, he lay out in a coffin made from cypress wood and enclosed by zinc. A second wooden coffin was added.

Some shouted or held up banners in the crowd, while others shouted “Santo Subito!” It means “Sainthood Now!” This is an echo of the calls made at the 2005 funeral of John Paul II.

Benedict, upon his request, was placed in the crypt below St Peter’s in an area that used to be occupied by John Paul II’s coffin.

Benedict was buried with a Latin document that listed some of the most significant occurrences of his papal papacy along with some coins.

Why Benedict wasn’t Pope when Benedict died

Ten years ago Benedict, the pope, made the unusual decision to resign. He cited “advanced aging” as the reason he wasn’t strong enough to lead Church.

Benedict spent his last years in a monastery located within the Vatican gardens. He wore white, but he did not change his name to Pope Emeritus. This was a controversial decision.

Image: Photo: Vatican Media

Vatican News was informed by Archbishop Georg Gaenswein (Benedict’s personal secretary), about the final words of the pope before the funeral.

Image of Photo: Vatican Media
Image and Photo: Vatican Media

Gaenswein made one final profession of love to God. The nurse informed me that I was there, even though I wasn’t there.


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