The German Pontiff will rest in the tomb that his Polish predecessor used for six years.
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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will be buried under St. Peter’s Basilica, in the former tomb of John Paul II, Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, confirmed January 2, 2023. This location in the Vatican grottoes, near the tomb of the Apostle Peter, has been empty since the Polish Pontiff’s remains were transferred to the upper level of the basilica in 2011.
The chapel where the 265th pope will be buried was already the resting place of his predecessor for six years, who was laid to rest there after his funeral (April 8, 2005). The tomb is located at the northern end of the Vatican grottoes, about 30 meters from the tomb of St. Peter. It was also used for John XXIII, before that pope was transferred to the altar of St. Jerome after his beatification in 2001. Beatified pontiffs are generally given a place of honor in the basilica itself.
The future tomb of Benedict XVI has been empty since 2011: the remains of John Paul II, declared Blessed, now rest under the altar of the Chapel of Saint Sebastian, in the right aisle of the nave of the basilica.
This moving of remains to allow the faithful more easy access to pray before them, is rather a game of musical chairs, since the body of Blessed Innocent XI (1611-1689) was moved from the Chapel of Saint Sebastian to the altar of the Transfiguration, on the left side of the nave, for the arrival of John Paul II.
Benedict XVI will be buried in the Vatican Basilica, after a funeral that Pope Francis will celebrate on January 5. The deceased pope wanted the funeral to be sober and discreet, and only two countries are officially invited to send delegations: his native Germany and Italy.