The faithful will be able to gather in Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome in front of the body of Pope Benedict XVI, who died on Saturday at the age of 95.
The body of Joseph Ratzinger, which had remained until now in the small private chapel of the monastery where he lived since his renunciation in 2013, located in the heart of the Vatican gardens, was transferred at dawn to the largest Catholic church in the world that can accommodate tens of thousands of worshippers.
The doors of the basilica, a masterpiece of architecture mixing Renaissance and Baroque styles completed in 1626 which houses the tomb of Saint Peter, first bishop of Rome whose popes are the successors, will open for three days from Monday from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.
The funeral will take place on Thursday.
The Vatican released on Sunday the first photos of the body of the pope emeritus, lying on a catafalque, dressed in red, the color of papal mourning and wearing a white miter adorned with a golden braid, a rosary in his hands.
A crucifix, a Christmas tree and a nativity scene are visible in the background.
The remains of his holiness Pope Emeritus #BenoitXVI invites us to meditation.
The presence next to it of the Christmas tree and the Nativity scene gives this presentation a serene and moving setting.
— Laurent Dogrel (@laurentdogrel) January 2, 2023
On Sunday, Pope Francis once again paid homage to “beloved” Benedict XVI, “this faithful servant of the Gospel and of the Church”.
Brilliant theologian and fervent guardian of dogma, Benedict XVI, who had resigned in 2013 because of his declining strength, died peacefully on Saturday morning.
Born in 1927, Joseph Ratzinger taught theology for 25 years in Germany before being appointed Archbishop of Munich.
He then became the strict guardian of the dogma of the Church for another quarter of a century in Rome at the head of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, then pope for eight years, succeeding John Paul II.
"Lord, I love you"
Benedict XVI's last words, spoken in Italian hours before his death on Saturday in the presence of a nurse at his bedside, were: “Lord, I love you,” his private secretary, Bishop Georg Gänswein, reported to the Vatican. News, the official news site of the Holy See.
The funeral celebrated by Francis for his predecessor, head of the Catholic Church from 2005 to 2013, will be an unprecedented event in the two thousand year history of the Catholic Church.
According to the Vatican, the "solemn but sober" ceremony will be held Thursday from 9:30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, where the funeral of his predecessor John Paul II attracted a million people in 2005. The first German pope of the modern history will then be buried in a crypt in the basilica.