Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s body is lying in state as thousands of people lined up across St. Peter’s Square hours before dawn on Monday to pay their respects

VATICAN CITY — Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI ‘s body is lying in state as thousands of people lined up hours before dawn on Monday to pay their respects.

The doors of St. Peter’s Basilica opened for viewing by the public at just past 9 a.m. (0800 GMT; 3 a.m. EST) when the first faithful entered.

Public viewing lasts for 10 hours on Monday in St. Peter’s Basilica. Twelve hours of viewing are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday before Thursday morning’s funeral, which will be led by Pope Francis, at St. Peter’s Square.

The frail, 95-year-old Benedict died Saturday morning in the Vatican monastery where he had lived since his retirement in 2013, when he became the first pontiff to resign in 600 years.

Security officials expected at least 25,000 people to pass by the body on the first day of viewing.

By Admins

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