Where will Pope Benedict XVI be buried? What are the Vatican Grottoes?
The Pope Emeritus’ funeral will take place on 5 January before his body i brought to its final resting place under St. Peter’s Basilica.
Bucking 600 years of tradition, Benedict XVI’s funeral will be presided over by his successor, Francis. 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).
Once the ceremony has been completed Benedict’s body will be taken to the Vatican crypts beneath St. Peter’s Basilica where his body will be interred alongside many of his predecessors and other important Catholic figures from history.
What are the Vatican Grottoes?
The grottoes are the names of the tombs beneath the basilica. Nearly every pope since the medieval era has been buried in the tombs at some point, with the last pope to not be buried in Rome being Urban V in the 14th century. Around 100 tombs of popes still exist of the 264 to have died.
A number of other historical figures have also been buried at St. Peter’s, including the 18th century Catholic claimant to the English and Scottish thrones, James III and VIII. When the Stuart dynasty was forced into exile they settled in Rome. James’ son, commonly known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, is also buried there.
Charlie’s brother, Henry, actually became a bishop in Italy and eventually achieved the rank of cardinal elector.