Former Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned and retired in 2013, is buried in the Vatican with a historic funeral.
His successor, the current Pope Francis, is leading the funeral ceremony held in St. Peter's Square for the former Pope, who died on December 31 at the age of 95. Tens of thousands of people gathered in the square to watch the ceremony.
Although dozens of state leaders from around the world were invited to the funerals of popes in the past, Benedict 16 is sent off with a relatively simple ceremony as he died after leaving the papacy.
Only delegations from Italy, including the Vatican, and Germany, the hometown of the former pope, were officially invited to the funeral. On the other hand, Queen Sofia of Spain, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, and state leaders from countries such as Hungary, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia are attending the ceremony in a special capacity.
Although no state burial is held for Benedict, some elements of the funeral ritual overlap with a traditional pope burial. After the ceremony, the body of the former Pope will be buried in one of the burial chambers in the lower floor of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. The body of the old pope will be placed in 3 separate coffins, which will be closed with special tapes and seals according to tradition. Coins and medals minted during the reign of Benedict XVI, the old pope's palliums and a text describing his life will also be placed on the coffin.
16. Benedict's body was open to visitors in the basilica from last Monday until today's funeral. According to the Vatican's statement, about 200,000 people visited the ex-pope in the catafalque in 3 days.
Benedict 16, who was elected to the papacy in 2005 at the age of 78, decided to resign in 2013 on the grounds that his administrative capacity had decreased due to his advanced age. With this decision, he went down in history as the first person in 600 years to break the tradition of popes to stay in office until their death. For this reason, Benedict is also known as a revolutionary in the Catholic Church, even though he was a strict conservative leader with tradition.
After the resignation of Benedict, an extraordinary period has been experienced in the Catholic Church in recent years, as he preferred to live in the Vatican and to dress in white colors special to the popes.