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Funeral: Kings and heads of state paid Benedict XVI. the last honor

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Since Benedict was not an incumbent pope, only Italy and Germany were present with official delegations at the funeral ceremony. Official Austria was represented by former Federal President Heinz Fischer.

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Live blog: Funeral service for Benedict XVI. with over 100,000 pilgrims

VATICAN. With a moving funeral service in front of more than 100,000 pilgrims gathered on St. Peter’s Square, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

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Live blog: Funeral service for Benedict XVI. with over 100,000 pilgrims

The German delegation with Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder stood in the first rows in front of the altar on St. Peter’s Square. The Italian delegation was led by President Sergio Mattarella. Also present were Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, her predecessor Mario Draghi and several members of her legal cabinet.

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Among the most prominent mourners were Belgium’s King Philippe and his wife Mathilde, as well as Spain’s ex-Queen Sofia, accompanied by a group of Spanish prelates led by Bishop Cardinal Juan José Omella. Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda, as well as Hungary’s President Katalin Novak and her Lithuanian counterpart Gitanas Nauseda also attended the celebrations. Italy’s ex-Royal House of Savoy was present with Princess Clotilde, wife of Savoy Prince Emanuele Filiberto. US Ambassador to the Vatican, Joe Donnelly, represented the United States.

Numerous religious leaders were also present at the mourning ceremony, including the Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church, Antony (Sevryuk). Relations between the Vatican and the Moscow Patriarchate had deteriorated significantly in light of the Russian war against Ukraine.

Also present were a delegation from the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople, a delegation from the Jewish community in Rome and the President of the Union of Muslim Communities in Italy, Yassine Lafram. The Bavarian bishop and long-time chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, came as chairman of the central committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC), while Bishop Andrej (Cilerdzic) of Vienna represented the Serbian-Orthodox Patriarchate in Belgrade.

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Source: Nachrichten

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