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Last Updated: Friday, 8 April, 2005, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
World mourns Pope at Rome funeral
Pope's coffin emerges from St Peter's
The crowd applauded as the Pope's coffin emerged from St Peter's
The funeral of Pope John Paul II has taken place in St Peter's Square.

The requiem Mass was watched by tens of thousands in the piazza, including about 200 world leaders, and many millions more around the world.

Throughout the service the Pope's wooden coffin lay in front of an altar on the steps of St Peter's Basilica.

It has now been carried inside the church, where it will be placed inside a further two coffins, before being buried in the crypts below.

Mark of respect

As the coffin was carried away from public view for the last time the bells of St Peter's tolled and the gathered pilgrims applauded, a traditional Italian mark of respect.

The three-hour ceremony was conducted by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals, which will begin electing the Pope's successor on 18 April.

Pope's body is put into coffin of cypress wood and placed on altar in front of basilica
Funeral Mass includes Latin chants, psalms and readings
Cardinal Ratzinger administers communion and commends Pope's body to God
Coffin is taken to the basilica's crypt
Wooden coffin is put into a zinc coffin, which is placed in an oak casket
Casket is buried under marble slab

The service began with the Pope's wooden coffin being carried out of St Peter's and placed on the stone steps of the basilica.

The coffin, adorned with a cross and the letter 'M' for Mary, was carried out by members of the Pope's household staff and laid in front of an altar.

A book of the Gospels was opened and laid on top of the coffin.

Then one by one the attending cardinals, all dressed in red, approached the altar and bowed before taking their places.

Loyal servant

Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican secretary of state, blessed the body and altar with incense before Cardinal Ratzinger stepped forward to celebrate the Mass.

Images from the funeral

In his homily, or sermon, Cardinal Ratzinger traced the life of the man he called our "late beloved Pope" from his days as a labourer in Nazi-occupied Poland to supreme leader of more than one billion Roman Catholics worldwide.

He was interrupted many times by applause from the crowd.

Cardinal Ratzinger said John Paul II was a "priest to the last" who had offered his life to God and his congregation, "especially amid the sufferings of his final months".

Emotional farewell

The cardinal's voice choked with emotion as he recalled one of John Paul II's last public appearances, when he blessed the crowd gather in St Peter's Square on Easter Sunday from the window of his Vatican apartment.

"We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the father's house, that he sees us and blesses us," he said as he pointed up to the third-floor window above the square.

The Pope's body was placed in the plain cypress coffin in a private ceremony on Friday morning.

Pilgrims reflect on the Pope's funeral and on his successor

According to protocol, a white veil was draped across his face and his bishop's hat placed on his chest.

A small bag of commemorative medals from his pontificate and a brief summary of his life and papacy, sealed in a lead tube, were also placed in the coffin before it was sealed.

After the service the coffin will be placed inside two other coffins, one zinc and one oak, then buried in the crypt below St Peter's under a simple stone slab.

Polish tribute

Among those attending the funeral were US President George W Bush, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who leads the world's largest Catholic country.

Political and religious leaders joined the funeral

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei - both of them Muslims - also took part.

They joined an estimated 250,000 pilgrims packed into the piazza.

Huge crowds also gathered in the Polish city of Krakow, the city where John Paul II was cardinal before ascending to the papacy.

About one million people converged on one of the city's parks to watch the requiem Mass on a video screen

Almost every Pole has been given the day off work. Theatres, banks and supermarkets will be closed.

Watch the events in Rome as the world mourns the Pope

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