Shijal ChudasamaJanuary 2, 2023

Thousands pay their homage to Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.

Thousands pay their homage to Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.

Numerous mourners have been attending the former Pope Benedict XVI's official funeral at the Vatican.

Nearly ten years after stepping down due to health issues, he passed away on New Year's Eve at the age of 95.

For the first time, a pope will be buried by his successor when Pope Francis takes the helm of his burial on Thursday.

A line had already started to develop at the edge of St. Peter's Square when dawn dawned over the Vatican.

Pope Benedict XVI: Thousands pay respects at the Vatican
Pope Benedict XVI: Thousands pay respects at the Vatican

Father Alfredo Elnar, a 30 year old Filipino, was in the very front. He acknowledged having read and liked the former pontiff's doctrinal ideas and spoke of the void left by his passing.

A bit farther back, Sister Marianna Patricevic, a nun from Croatia, expressed her gratitude for all that the late pope had accomplished and noted that there was not a subject she studied in college where his opinions were not brought up.

Father Richard Kunst, a visitor from the US, said he would pray for the Pope as he passed the body, as well as for a miracle to aid a friend back home who is battling cancer.

In 2013, Benedict XVI resigned as Pope for the first time in 600 years, citing failing health.

People may pay their respects until 7 p.m. each evening while his body is on display for three days at St. Peter's Basilica.

Pope Benedict XVI: Thousands pay respects at the Vatican
The body of Pope Benedict XVI lies in St. Peter's Basilica for public viewing at the Vatican Jan. 2, 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

On Monday, many people entering the basilica made the cross sign or paused to pray as they passed the body of the former Pope, which is guarded by two Swiss Guards. Others used their smartphones to take pictures.

Pope Benedict XVI: Thousands pay respects at the Vatican

Mountain Butorac, a visitor, described the event as "wonderful" and "humbling."

The head of the Catholic pilgrimage was waiting in line to see the former Pope's body once more, this time with his family. He described the atmosphere as "sombre" but "joyous."

Benedict, who he compared to a "papal grandfather," was a "very nice" and "humble" man, according to him.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Georgia Meloni were among those who paid their tributes before the chapel was made accessible to the public.

The Pope Emeritus will be placed to rest in the graves beneath the Basilica after the burial, which will take place in St. Peter's Square.

Pope Benedict XVI: Thousands pay respects at the Vatican
Pope Benedict XVI: Thousands pay respects at the Vatican
Pope Benedict XVI: Thousands pay respects at the Vatican

On Sunday, the Vatican published images of the body, which was clad in red papal mourning garments and a gold-trimmed mitre.

Pope Benedict XVI: Thousands pay respects at the Vatican
Pope Benedict XVI: Thousands pay respects at the Vatican

Numerous tributes have been sent in from all around the world, and hundreds of people are anticipated to attend the funeral.

Pope John Paul II's 2005 funeral, which attracted an estimated four million people to Rome, was the last papal funeral and one of the biggest Christian gatherings in history.

According to Matteo Bruni, a spokesman for the Vatican, Benedict requested that the funeral be distinguished by simplicity.

Although the Vatican has not disclosed the specifics of the guest list, it has stated that it will include representatives from Italy and Benedict's native Germany.

After the death of his "dearest" predecessor, Pope Francis paid respect to him.

While Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni praised the former Pope as "a wonderful leader whom history will not forget," US President Joe Biden praised his "lifetime of commitment to the Church."

The greatest Catholic country in the world, Brazil, will soon have a new president named Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who expressed his wishes for "comfort to the faithful and supporters of the Holy Father."

Some have criticized Pope Benedict for failing to address claims of clerical sexual abuse. He was a divisive figure.

Pope Benedict XVI: Thousands pay respects at the Vatican
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