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Benedict XVI will have three coffin burials in a similar funeral to the reigning pope

origin 1A bird flies over St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on January 3, 2023. ©TIZIANA FABI/AFP or licensees

The late Benedict XVI will have a funeral similar to that of a reigning pope, including a three-coffin interment, the Vatican announced on Tuesday.

The retired pontiff died at the age of 95 on Dec. 31, with three days of hospitalization starting Monday.

Benedict, a German from a small village in Bavaria, was the first pope in six centuries to retire instead of serving as lifelong head of the Catholic church.

This unprecedented situation had raised questions about how the funeral would take place, with the current Pope Francis unusually overseeing the burial.

A written account of Benedict’s pontificate will be placed in his coffin for burial, the Vatican said, revealing its plans for the funeral on Thursday.

Tens of thousands of people have so far paid homage to Pope Benedict, parading in front of his body in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has called for the protection of Europe’s Christian roots like Benedict, was among some of the 70,000 people who paid their respects in the small city-state.

Benedict XVI: the first pope in over 600 years to resign

When the lie in state ends Wednesday night, a one-page account of Benedict’s nearly eight-year pontificate will be placed in a metal cylinder and placed in his coffin.

It will accompany other items including Vatican coins minted during his reign, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

Benedict had an extraordinary papal retreat living out the rest of his days in a monastery in the Vatican Gardens.

Pope Francis will celebrate the funeral Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

Although the Vatican has stressed that Benedict wanted “simplicity” to characterize his funeral, Bruni said “great detail” will be lent to the “pontifical ceremonies … with some original elements.”

The retirement of Benedict, formerly known as Joseph Ratzinger, in 2013 and his succession by Pope Francis created a rare situation where there were actually two popes.

Since Benedict was no longer a reigning pontiff when he died, official delegations have been limited to those from Italy and his native Germany.

Among those expected to participate in a private capacity were the presidents of Poland and Hungary and the monarchs of Spain and Belgium.