A steady stream of people poured into St. Peter’s Basilica on Monday to pay their respects to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, whose body will rest before the high altar until his funeral later this week.
Benedict died Saturday at the age of 95 in the isolated Vatican monastery where he had lived since his unexpected resignation in 2013.
His body, dressed in red and gold liturgical vestments, was placed on a simple dais, with two Swiss guards standing on either side as worshippers walked.
It will remain at rest until Wednesday. His funeral will be held Thursday in St. Peter’s Square and will be presided over by Pope Francis. The Vatican has said it will be a simple, solemn and sober ceremony, according to his wishes.
There was no sign of the huge crowds that turned out to pay their respects to Benedict’s predecessor, Pope John Paul II, after his death in 2005.
During his eight-year papacy, Benedict, a methodical, shy and highly reserved German, struggled to replace the charismatic John Paul II, inviting constant comparisons in the media and among the faithful of the 1.3 billion-member Church.