Former Pope Benedict XVI Dead at 95

His funeral will be held on Jan. 5.

Former Pope Benedict XVI has died. He was 95. 

The Pope died on Saturday in his home, a monastery in the Vatican where he had lived since stepping down in 2013. He was the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. 

“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,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni announced, according to Reuters

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His cause of death is unknown at this time. 

The Vatican said his body would lie in state from Monday, Jan. 2, until his funeral in St.Peter’s Basilica. The ceremony will be held on the morning of Jan. 5, 2023, in the vast square in front of the basilica, with Pope Francis presiding over it, as per the outlet. 

Although the Vatican has many strict rules regarding the death of a sitting pope, there is little insight into the rituals instated for a former pope. That said, outlets have already reported the chiming of the bells located at St. Peter's Basilica–which traditionally toll as a signifier of the Holy Father's passing–so we presume the ceremony will look very similar to that honoring a current pope. 

The news comes just days after Pope Francis disclosed that his predecessor, who served from 2005 until his resignation in 2013, was "very sick." Bruni also said Benedict had received his last rites before his passing, called "the anointing of the sick," on Wednesday, Dec. 28. 

Following his passing, members of the diocese from all over the globe shared their condolences honoring Pope Benedict's service to the church. 

Bishop Robert Barron penned a lengthy letter online, which read in part, "Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger, was one of the most consequential theologians of the 20th and 21st centuries. His impact on the Church will be remembered long after today." 

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"We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI," the official Twitter page of Westminster Abbey wrote, noting, "In 2010 he became the first Pope to visit the Abbey in its thousand-year history when he attended a service and prayed at the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor during his State Visit to the UK."

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The Church of England also led social media with prayer, which you can read below. 

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