On the 29th of April 2013, the coffin containing the body of Pope John Paul II was disentombed before his beatification in the Vatican. The coffin was removed from the crypt below St. Peter’s Basilica as top Vatican officials and some of the late pope’s closest aides watched and prayed. Pope John Paul II was beatified on the 1st of May 2013 at the Vatican.
On another of my previous trips and at the time of Pope John Paul II’s passing, it was time to chose a new Pope and the smoke (chimney on screen) would turn white when a decision had been made and about to be announced to the public.
The cardinals vote by secret ballot, processing one by one up to Michelangelo’s fresco of the Last Judgment, saying a prayer and dropping the twice-folded ballot in a large chalice. Four rounds of balloting are taken every day until a candidate receives two-thirds of the vote. The result of each ballot are counted aloud and recorded by three cardinals designated as recorders. If no one receives the necessary two-thirds of the vote, the ballots are burned in a stove near the chapel with a mixture of chemicals to produce black smoke.
When a cardinal receives the necessary two-thirds vote, the dean of the College of Cardinals asks him if he accepts his election. If he accepts, he chooses a papal name and is dressed in papal vestments before processing out to the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. The ballots of the final round are burned with chemicals producing white smoke to signal to the world the election of a new pope.
The Baldachin is at the centre of the crossing and directly under the dome of the basilica. Designed by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, it was intended to mark in a monumental way, the place of Saint Peter’s tomb underneath.
Next stop Turin …