Former Pope Benedict XVI, the first pontiff to resign his position in 600 years, tather than hold office for life has passed away at the age of 95 on Saturday, December 31.
“With sorrow, I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Matteo Bruni said.
Starting on Monday, January 1, the body of the former pope will lie in state in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican for the faithful to bid farewell. As per the wish of Pope Emeritus, his funeral will be “simple.”
The funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will be led by Pope Francis on January 5 in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City at 9:30 a.m. local time, Bruni said.
The former pope was born in Germany’s Bavaria on April 16, 1927 as Joseph Ratzinger. He was a theologian by training. Following the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, Ratzinger was elected his successor after serving for a quarter of a century as the Vatican’s top enforcer of orthodoxy.
He was the first German pope since the 11th century.