VATICAN, January 2. /TASS/. A lying-in-state ceremony for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has begun in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, a TASS correspondent reported.
The ceremony will last for three days. Pope Francis, the current head of the Catholic Church, will lead a funeral mass on January 5. The Pope emeritus will be buried in the crypt under St. Peter's Basilica.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died on December 31 aged 95. German cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 following the death of Pope John Paul II. In 2013, he became the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. Pope Benedict, who was 85 at the time, explained his decision by saying that he no longer had the strength to run the Catholic Church.