Tens of thousands to see former pope lying in state

The body of the Pope Emeritus in the Mater Ecclesiae chapel.(Photo: Vatican)

The lying in state of former Pope Benedict XVI begins at 9am on Monday at the Vatican.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to file past his open casket inside St Peter's Basilica. 

Pictures released by the Vatican over the weekend show the Pope Emeritus resting on a red catafalque in the chapel of the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery where he lived during his retirement.

The pictures show him dressed in red papal mourning robes and wearing a gold-trimmed mitre.

His body will lie in state for three days before a "solemn but simple" funeral later this week that is being arranged in accordance with his wishes. 

Benedict was pope from 2005 until he resigned in 2013 due to his advancing years. He was the first pope to resign in over 600 years, becoming Pope Emeritus.

He passed away on the morning of New Year's Eve at the age of 95 after his health rapidly declined in the last few days of 2022.

His funeral on Thursday will be precided over by his successor Pope Francis. He will then be laid to rest in the tombs of St Peter's.

The last papal funeral was in April 2005 for Benedict's predecessor, John Paul II.

Pope Francis paid tribute to his "beloved" predecessor during his New Year's Day Angelus on Sunday.

"Let us all join together, with one heart and one soul, in thanking God for the gift of this faithful servant of the Gospel and of the Church," he said.