On 2 January, the body of the pope emeritus was transferred from the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery to St Peter’s Basilica to begin the wake and allow thousands of pilgrims to say their last goodbyes.
It is estimated that at least 65,000 people came to visit the pope emeritus on the first day of his wake.
Pope Francis will preside over the funeral, which will be attended by hundreds of church leaders. Many other heads of state will come to pay respects and attend the funeral in an unofficial capacity. The WCC will be represented by the central committee moderator Bishop Dr Heinrich Bedford-Strohm.
“With my presence at the funeral service for Pope Emeritus Benedict, I want to express my empathy to the Catholic world for the loss of a person who has been so important for the Roman Catholic Church worldwide,” said Bedford-Strohm. “I want to join the global church community in praying for Benedict that he may now see the eternal love and grace of God of which he has preached so many times.”