The funeral of Benedict XVI, the pope emeritus who died on Saturday at age 95, was taking place in St. Peter’s Square on Thursday after three days during which mourners could view his body and pay their final respects.
Benedict had lived inside the Vatican, mostly hidden from the public eye, since he resigned in 2013, becoming the first pontiff to leave office for six centuries. The eight-year papacy of Benedict, a widely respected theologian whose papal name stems from one of the patron saints of Europe, was embattled by scandals that ultimately led him to step down.
His funeral, the first in modern history presided over by a reigning pope, had the solemnity of the papal tradition, but lacked some prayers specific to reigning pontiffs, as well as some readings, and had a looser protocol. Only two official delegations attended, those of Italy and of Benedict’s native Germany. Other heads of state and monarchs attended.
Here are scenes from the funeral and from the three days during which the faithful could view his body in St. Peter’s.
Cardinals in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, before the funeral.
Mourners arriving early in St. Peter’s Square.
Thousands gathered for the ceremony.
Preparing to say a last goodbye to the pope emeritus.
The body of Benedict XVI lying in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Bishops and cardinals prayed in the basilica near Benedict’s body.
Lining up to pay homage to the pope emeritus.