Death of Benedict XVI
Last rest in St. Peter’s Basilica and a destroyed ring: This is how the mourning period for the pope ends
Precisely defined ceremonial procedures follow the death of a pope. In the case of Benedict XVI. However, the Vatican protocol also enters new territory. An overview.
A deceased pope is commemorated with a nine-day period of mourning, which bears the Latin name “Novemdiales”. Normally, after the death of a pope, the cardinals must also elect his successor. This is not applicable since Benedict resigned from office on February 11, 2013, making room for his successor, Pope Francis.
Worship for Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square
On Sunday, Benedict, dressed in a red and gold robe and wearing a gold-rimmed miter, was laid out in the chapel of his Vatican residence, the Mater Ecclesiae monastery. From Monday morning, Benedict’s body is to be laid out in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome so that the faithful can say goodbye to him.
The funeral service for Benedict will take place on January 5 in St. Peter’s Square and will be led by the incumbent Pope Francis – an unprecedented event in the history of the Catholic Church, which came about after Benedict’s resignation in 2013.
In 2005, around a million people took part in the funeral service for the charismatic John Paul II on St. Peter’s Square. Numerous heads of state and crowned heads paid their last respects to the longstanding head of the church. At that time, Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led the funeral ceremony. Shortly thereafter, the cardinals elected him the new Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope is buried in the Vatican Grottoes
According to Vatican rules, a pope must be buried four to six days after his death. Benedict is to be buried in the Vatican Grottoes of St. Peter’s Basilica after the funeral service on Thursday.
The Benedict biographer Peter Seewald made it public in 2020 that the pope emeritus would like a burial there in the former grave of his predecessor John Paul II. After John Paul’s beatification in 2011, his body was reburied in a chapel in the aisle of St. Peter’s Basilica.
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“We were Pope” – the life of Benedict XVI. in pictures
A ring is specially made for each pope as a sign of his power. The head of the church uses this so-called fisherman’s ring as a seal for documents. Benedict’s signet ring was made unusable with an “X” after his resignation. The piece of jewelery is taken from the finger of a deceased pope and then broken.