Benedict XVI was buried in the crypt where his Polish predecessor, St. John Paul II, was first buried. St. John XXIII also was buried there prior to his beatification.
The casket of Pope Benedict XVI is closed during its burial in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Jan. 5, 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
ROME (OSV News) — In what looks like a continuation of pontifical legacy, Pope Benedict XVI was buried in the crypt where his Polish predecessor, St. John Paul II, was first buried. St. John XXIII also was buried there prior to his beatification.
A triple coffin — the first one made of cypress, the second of zinc and the third one of oak — was put into the grotto Jan. 5 following the funeral Mass with Pope Francis presiding.
The place of burial is unique for many who knew the fond relationship of St. John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope who was the Vatican’s chief doctrinal official under the Polish pontiff.
“It is a sign of friendship that goes way beyond their earthly life,” Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Charity, told OSV News. The cardinal was master of papal ceremonies under both St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict.
“I think it truly symbolically closes the earthly symbiosis of the two popes — the Polish and German pontiff,” added Yago de la Cierva, professor at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.
The Holy See Press Office predicted the crypt where Pope Benedict was laid to rest will be ready for the faithful to visit after Jan. 8.
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