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catholic church

catholic church


4y ago


The funeral of Pope John Paul II was held on 8 April 2005, six days after his death on 2 April. The funeral was followed by the novemdiales devotional in which the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches observe nine days of mourning. On 22 February, 1996, Pope John Paul II introduced revisions to the centuries-old ceremonies surrounding papal death, repose and burial. The revisions enacted through the apostolic constitution Universi Dominici Gregis applied to his own funeral. Pope John Paul's funeral brought together the single largest gathering in history of heads of state outside the United Nations, surpassing the funerals of Winston Churchill (1965) and Josip Broz Tito (1980). Four kings, five queens, at least 70 presidents and prime ministers, and more than 14 leaders of other religions attended, alongside the faithful. It is likely to have been the largest single gathering of Christianity in history, with numbers estimated in excess of four million mourners gathering in Rome. Coinciding with the funeral in Vatican City, archbishops and bishops at cathedrals throughout the world celebrated memorial Masses for grieving Catholics. In a historical rarity, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox Christian leaders, as well as leaders in Judaism, Islam and Buddhism, offered memorials and prayers of their own for their congregants sharing in the grief of Catholics. At the funeral itself, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I attended in the honorary first seat in the sector reserved for delegations from churches not in full communion with Rome; this was the first time an Ecumenical Patriarch attended a papal funeral since the Great Schism. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, was present at a papal funeral for the first time since the Church of England broke with the papacy in the 16th century. Also for the first time ever, the head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church, Patriarch Abune Paulos attended a papal funeral. It is thought that billions of people watched the funeral either by actually being in Vatican Square, watching it on television live, or watching a taped or replayed version later that day. It is unknown whether the funeral was the most watched event in history; if so, it would overtake two other funerals holding that spot, that of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 and that of Michael Jackson in 2009. The Vatican welcomed some four million visitors during the memorial week, which cost an estimated six million euros.