Pope Benedict XVI, a staunch defender of church doctrine who resigned from the papacy for the first time in six centuries, passed away early on Saturday. At 95 years old.
According to Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni, Benedict XVI passed away at 9:34 AM local time in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in Vatican City, where he had been living since his resignation.
Beginning on January 2, Benedict XVI’s body will lie in state at Saint Peter’s Basilica.
On January 5, St. Peter’s Square will host the funeral service for Pope Emeritus.
The funeral will be presided over by Pope Francis.
Following a Wednesday “prayer” request for his predecessor at the Vatican from Pope Francis, he passed away.
“I would like to request that everyone say a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who upholds the Church through his silence. Francis, 86, announced during his weekly general audience that the man was very ill.
We pray that the Lord will comfort him and keep him going strong as he continues to show his love for the Church.
In 2005, the German-born spiritual leader succeeded the revered Pope John Paul II. Joseph Ratzinger was born on April 16, 1927, in Bavaria.
Benedict, the first German pope in 1,000 years, was well-known for his staunchly conservative views and his nearly 25 years as the influential head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office. However, he only held the position for eight years before deciding to resign in 2013.