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POPE BENEDICT LYING IN STATE banner.JPG
POPE BENEDICT LYING IN STATE.JPG
Reuters
World News

Pope Benedict XVI’s lying in state begins ahead of funeral

by Kelly Valencia

Hundreds of people have already flocked to Vatican City to pay their respects to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The former Pope became the first Pontiff to resign in 600 years – he did so because of the worsening of his health.

The 95-year-old passed away on New Year’s Eve in the small monastery within the Vatican where he lived.

The former Pope’s body will remain in St Peter’s Basilica in an open casket for three days until his funeral, which is to take place on 5th January. Visiting hours are until 7pm each evening. 

Pope Francis will preside over Benedict’s funeral, this being the first time that a Pope will be buried by his successor.

The Vatican said Pope Benedict's wishes for his funeral were to have a simple, solemn, and sober service.

The Pope Emeritus' body will be laid to rest in the tombs beneath the Basilica.

On Sunday, the Vatican released photos of the Pontiff’s body, dressed in red papal mourning robes and wearing a gold-trimmed mitre.

Papal funerals would normally attract heads of state from around the world but the Vatican has said official delegations will come only from Italy and from Benedict's native Germany.

Diplomats have been told that representatives from other countries or organisations may attend in a private capacity.

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