In the Vatican, the remains of Pope Benedict XVI are presented to the faithful this Monday morning. Thousands of faithful are expected to pay their last respects to the German pope who died on Saturday morning, December 31. These are four days of mourning which will culminate until Thursday and the funeral of Benedict XVI.
A long line of faithful formed at dawn to meditate before the remains of Benedict XVI. The doors of St. Peter’s Basilica open at 9 a.m. (8 a.m. UT), reports our correspondent at the Vatican, Eric Senanque. And thousands of people are expected, in the presence of many media and an important security device. The prefecture of Rome mentioned the figure of 30,000 to 35,000 people per day until Wednesday, the last day on which it will be possible to pay tribute to the German pope.
Giorgia Meloni, like Italian President Matarella, could go to the basilica on Monday. To cope with the influx of the faithful and curious, in a Rome still very popular with tourists, two flows will be able to enter the basilica simultaneously. The security forces have been reinforced. In addition to the Vatican Gendarmerie and the Italian police, 500 civil protection volunteers were mobilized. Roman public transport is also reinforced.
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Benedict XVI will join the other popes in the crypt
The crowd is expected to grow even more for the funeral. A great mass which will be celebrated from 9:30 a.m. by Pope Francis. These days of commemoration will end with the burial of the former sovereign pontiff, Thursday, January 5 after the celebration. Benedict XVI will join the other popes in the crypt placed under the altar of the basilica.
The body of Joseph Ratzinger had remained so far in the small private chapel of the monastery where he lived since his renunciation in 2013, located in the heart of the Vatican gardens.
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.
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