Vatican City, Jan 5 (EFE).- The remains of former Pope Benedict XVI were taken on Thursday to their final resting place in the Vatican Grottoes, following a funeral at St. Peter’s Square which was presided over by Pope Francis.
The coffin will be buried in the tombs beneath St. Peter’s Basilica, in the niche that belonged to St. John Paul II.
Before entering the basilica, Pope Francis stood for a few minutes in front of the coffin and placed his hand on it.
As the bells of St. Peter’s rang, the roughly 130 cardinals who attended the funeral entered the basilica for the final salute.
A large crowd of roughly 50,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square to attend the funeral, where banners that read “Santo Subito” (saint now) were seen, a petition that was also made for John Paul II during his funeral.
According to tradition, a ceremony is to be held privately, before those closest to the pontiff.
Joseph Ratzinger’s last wish was to be buried in the small chapel of the Vatican crypt, where the tomb of John Paul II was before it was moved to the upper part of the basilica in 2011 for his beatification and subsequent canonization.
The remains of Benedict, the first Pope to leave his seat in six centuries, will rest a few meters from the tomb of Saint Peter the Apostle, and next to the tomb of Paul VI. EFE