The body of late former Pope Benedict XVI, will lie in state for three days at St Peter’s Basilica before his funeral.
The German theologian, who died on Saturday aged 95, led the Catholic Church for eight years before becoming the first pope in six centuries to step down in 2013.
His successor Pope Francis will lead the funeral on Thursday in the vast St Peter’s Square before his remains are laid to rest in the tombs beneath St Peter’s Basilica.
Benedict died at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery inside the Vatican gardens, which had been his home for the past decade.
His body will early Monday be transferred to the basilica where, for three days during the daytime, the faithful will be able to say goodbye.
The Vatican on Sunday released photos of his corpse, dressed in red papal mourning robes and wearing a gold-edged mitre on his head, on a catafalque in the monastery chapel.
Benedict’s shock resignation created the extraordinary situation of having two “men in white” — him and Francis — at the Vatican.
His funeral will also break new ground.
Papal deaths usually trigger the calling of a conclave of cardinals to elect a successor, but this time Francis remains in post and will lead proceedings.
Benedict’s funeral will be “solemn but simple”, the Vatican has said, after which he will be buried in the papal tombs under St Peter’s Basilica.
The Vatican has yet to release details of the guest list, beyond saying that it will include delegations from Italy and Benedict’s native Germany.
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