When is Pope Benedict XVI’s funeral? Everything you need to know about when, where and who’s attending
The ceremony will be a rare example of a Pope’s funeral being officiated by his predecessor and will be available to stream live online.
Last weekend the Catholic Church announced the death of Pope Benedict XVI, who passed away at the age of 95.
In recent years Benedict had been given the title of Pope Emeritus, due to his distinction of being one of very few Popes to resign from the role during their life. In 2013 he became the first person to stand down as head of the Catholic Church for nearly 600 years.
Unusually for a Pope, Benedict’s funeral will take place while there is still a living Pope. But on this rare occassion it will be Pope Francis who will preside over the ceremony that lays Benedict to rest.
The funeral will take place in the Vatican City on Thursday, 5 January, starting at 9:30am local time (3:30am EST, 00:30am PT).
The ceremony will be viewed by people all around the world, and can be streamed live on the Vatican’s YouTube channel.
What will Pope Benedict’s funeral be like?
Director of the Vatican Press Office, Matteo Bruni, told reporters that “following the wishes of the Pope Emeritus, the funeral will be held under the sign of simplicity,” adding that it will be a “solemn but sober funeral.”
“The express request on the part of the emeritus pope is that everything be simple, both with regard to the funeral as well as the other celebrations and gestures during this time of pain,” Bruni said.
After his death, Benedict’s body remained in his Mater Ecclesiae Monastery residence in the Vatican Gardens. The first images of his body were released on 1 January which showed him lying at the foot of the altar in the monastery’s chapel.
His body was then transferred to St Peter’s Basilica to begin a wake, which has been attended by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. In the first day alone, more than 65,000 people came to visit as he lies in state.
Leaders from around the world are expected to be present in St Peter’s Basilica on Thursday for Pope Benedict’s funeral. This includes Belgium’s King Philippe and Spain’s Queen Sofia, along with official delegations from Germany and Ireland also attending.
All of Europe’s Catholic royal families are expected to send some representative to the funeral. Earlier this week senior politicians from Italy and Hungary visited St Peter’s Basilica to pay their respects in person.