Pope’s body lies in state

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

Nine days of official mourning have begun for John Paul II who died on Saturday after a long illness, aged 84.

The pontiff’s head rests on a pillow, his arms folded and a bishop’s staff tucked under his left arm. A crucifix stands to one side and a tall candle burns on the other.

The Vatican, which earlier announced the Pope had died of blood poisoning and heart failure, is now preparing for the ritual-filled funeral and conclave that will elect his successor.

The cause of death is disclosed in the official death certificate.

It listed the ailments the 84-year-old Pope suffered from, including acknowledging officially for the first time that he had Parkinson’s disease.

Although the lying-in-state began on Sunday, the general public will not be able to view the pontiff’s corpse until Monday afternoon when his body will be taken to St Peter’s Basilica for public viewing.

The flow of faithful from outside the city has begun, with an estimated 100,000 people turning out for a morning Mass.

Thousands more arrived throughout the day, filling the broad boulevard leading to St Peter’s Basilica.

Bells have tolled and pilgrims wept in remembrance of the Polish-born Pope who reigned for longer than all but two of his predecessors.

Jean Paull II was credited with helping bring down communism in Europe and spreading a message of peace around the world.

For the funeral alone, officials are expecting at least two million pilgrims.

Rome has laid on extra trains and fresh water supplies and began to erect hundreds of tents, in expectation one of the greatest influxes of pilgrims in its history.

The date of the funeral has not yet been announced but it is not expected before Wednesday.

Although the list of dignatories is still being drawn up, many world leaders, including US President George W Bush and his father George Bush Snr, are expected to attend.

Rome’s mayor Walter Veltroni warned the city faces one of the biggest organisational tasks in its history, surpassing even the Catholic Jubilee Year in 2000 when 30 million pilgrims crammed into its cobbled streets over a 12-month period.

Around the world Catholic communities have been grieving for the pontiff.

In the Pope’s native Poland, bells rang out across the country and night-long vigils were held.

Brazil, home to the world’s largest Catholic population, has declared seven days of national mourning.

Tributes have been pouring in from all around the world.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the world has lost a religious leader who was revered by people of all faiths, while George W Bush called him one of history’s great moral leaders.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan described the pontiff a tireless advocate of peace, a true pioneer in interfaith dialogue and a strong force for critical self-evaluation by the church itself.

In a sign of the 84-year-old-pontiff’s worldwide appeal across religious lines, communist China and Cuba, predominantly Muslim Indonesia, Egypt and Albania and majority Hindu India also offered tributes.

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