Vatican’s top envoy calls for priests to hold mass for late former pontiff, who visited holy sites in Israel and the West Bank in 2009.
Church bells tolled for the death of ex-pope Benedict XVI in Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday, where Catholics revered their “great” former pontiff.
Standing before the ancient stones of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christians believe Jesus was buried, seminarian Matteo Sassano said he had been praying for the retired pope, who died on Saturday.
“Pope Benedict was a great pope… also, a great companion of Pope Francis,” said Sassano, 33, from Italy.
The death of Benedict, nearly a decade after his shock resignation, ends a remarkable era in which he and his successor lived alongside one another within the Vatican walls. The Holy See’s top representative in Jerusalem, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, called for all priests to celebrate a mass for Benedict.