Benedict XVI is already resting in the Vatican grottoes. The former pope passed away on Dec. 31, 2022 after several days sick. Only a few days later, on Jan. 2, the mortal remains of the pope emeritus were placed in his mortuary chapel, located in St. Peter's Basilica, which was attended by the 200,000 faithful, according to the vatican gendarmerie.
The funeral, held on Jan. 5, was presided over by Pope Francis who arrived at the basilica at 9:20 a.m. local time in a wheelchair, due to the problems he suffers in his right knee. He dedicated a few words to his predecessor, Benedict XVI, whom he thanked for the "wisdom, delicacy and dedication" that the pope emeritus "knew how to spread over the years.” In addition, he assured that Ratzinger was "a master who carries on his shoulders the wear and tear for his people to seek intercession beyond the misunderstandings that it may entail.”
However, Pope Francis waited for address Benedict XVI directly until the end of the ceremony, which was attended by some 130 cardinals, 400 bishops and almost 3,700 priests: "Benedict, faithful friend of the Bridegroom, may your joy be perfect in hearing definitively and forever His voice.”
#PopeFrancis "Benedict, faithful friend of the Bridegroom, may your joy be perfect in hearing definitively and forever His voice." pic.twitter.com/yojv1bhuHM
- Vatican News (@vaticannews_en) January 5, 2023
Former burial place of John Paul II and John XXIII
Benedict XVI was then transferred to the Vatican Grottoes, where he will rest in what, as reported by the COPE, was the burial place of John Paul II and John XXIII. The grotto where the pope emeritus already rests was the site chosen to leave the remains of John Paul II until 2011. After his beatification, John Paul II remains were moved to the chapel of St. Sebastian, located at the top of St. Peter's Basilica.
Ratzinger's remains will rest in a triple coffin, the first made of cypress wood, the second of zinc and the third of oak. Next to his remains will also be some personal objects, such as the medals minted during his pontificate or a parchment with the highlights of his life and his fight against sexual abuse.
"The foundation of the world is love." - Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
The coffin of the late Pope Emeritus is placed in its final resting place in the grottos of St. Peter’s Basilica. pic.twitter.com/tZInNjei8q
— Vatican News (@VaticanNews) January 5, 2023