Let’s hope the English can pull off what the Italians did for the Pope’s funeral – it was flawless

I stood in line for 12 hours. Not one single incident while 4 or 5 millions streamed into Rome and into that line to see Pope John Paul II lying in State.


Pope John Paul’s funeral brought together what was, at the time, the single largest gathering in history of heads of state outside the United Nations,[3] surpassing the 1965 funeral of Winston Churchill and the state funeral of Josip Broz Tito in Belgrade in 1980, only to be surpassed by the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony and the funeral of former South Africa leader Nelson Mandela in December 2013. Four kings, five queens, at least seventy presidents and prime ministers, and more than fourteen leaders of other religions attended, alongside the faithful.[4] It is likely to have been one of the largest single gatherings of Christianity in history, with numbers estimated in excess of four million mourners gathering in Rome alone.[5][6][7]

Coinciding with the funeral in Vatican Citybishops at cathedrals throughout the world celebrated memorial masses. In a historical rarity, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox leaders, as well as representatives and heads from JudaismIslamDruze[8] and Buddhism, offered their own memorials and prayers as a way of sympathising with the grief of Catholics.

At the funeral itself, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of the Eastern Orthodox Church was in the honorary first seat in the sector reserved for delegations from churches not in full communion with the See of Rome; this was the first time an Ecumenical Patriarch attended a papal funeral since the East–West Schism.[9] The Archbishop of Canterbury (then Rowan Williams) was also present at the papal funeral, the first time since the Church of England broke with the Catholic Church in the 16th century. Also for the first time ever, the head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Patriarch Abune Paulos, attended a papal funeral.

Published by baileyalexander

An American living in Piemonte. Sailed across the Atlantic aboard our 43 Nauticat in 2002 and spent over a decade living in Rome, Paris, Prague, Malta, Venice and Bucharest before settling in Piemonte, Italia.

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