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PHOTOS: Solemn images of the closing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s coffin

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The Vatican on Thursday shared the first photos of the private ritual for the closing of Benedict XVI’s coffin.

The casket was closed in St. Peter’s Basilica on the evening of Jan. 4 after three days of public visitation to the late pope’s body.

Before the wooden coffin was closed, Benedict XVI’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, and Monsignor Diego Giovanni Ravelli, the Vatican’s lead master of ceremonies for papal liturgies, placed a white veil over the late pope’s face. The action is part of the funeral rites for popes.

“Almighty God, Lord of life and death, we believe that the life of the Holy Father Benedict XVI is now hidden in you … May his face contemplate your beauty,” the prayer for the rite says.

Cardinals Giovanni Battista Re, Pietro Parolin, Angelo De Donatis, Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, Edgar Peña Parra, Mauro Gambetti, and the consecrated women of the pope emeritus’ household were present for the closing of the coffin.

Before the casket was closed, a one-page summary in Latin of Benedict XVI’s papacy, called a “rogito” in Italian, was rolled into a metal cylinder and placed inside.

Gänswein kissed the top of the closed coffin, made of cypress.

Benedict XVI’s funeral and burial in the Vatican crypt took place on the morning of Jan. 5.

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Before the wooden coffin is closed, Benedict XVI’s personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gänswein and Monsignor Diego Giovanni Ravelli, the Vatican’s lead master of ceremonies for papal liturgies, place a white veil over the late pope’s face. The action on Jan. 4, 2023, is part of the funeral rites for popes. Vatican Media
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Before the wooden coffin is closed, Benedict XVI’s personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gänswein and Monsignor Diego Giovanni Ravelli, the Vatican’s lead master of ceremonies for papal liturgies, place a white veil over the late pope’s face. The action on Jan. 4, 2023, is part of the funeral rites for popes. Vatican Media
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Benedict XVI’s personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gänswein kisses the former pope’s closed coffin during a private ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica on Jan. 4, 2023. Vatican Media
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Benedict XVI’s personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gänswein signs an official document after the casket of the former pope was closed during a private ceremony on Jan. 4, 2023, in St. Peter’s Basilica. Vatican Media
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Monsignor Diego Giovanni Ravelli, the Vatican’s lead master of ceremonies for papal liturgies, signs an official document after the coffin of the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was closed in a private ceremony on Jan. 4, 2023, in St. Peter’s Basilica. Vatican Media
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