On Thursday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI became the first retired pontiff in 600 years.
With no modern guides, everything he does will be pioneering for a 21st century papal retiree. Take a look at this historic event and see what retirement has in store for a religious icon.
Though retiring, the Vatican said he will keep the name Benedict XVI and still be addressed as "his holiness." He will also be known as pope emeritus, emeritus pope or Roman pontifex emeritus.
Benedict will forego his ornate papal wardrobe and elbow-length cape, called a mozzetta, for a simple white cassock. He also will retire his famous red shoes in favor of a brown pair picked up on his trip to Mexico last year.
Benedict's Twitter account @Pontifex will be inactive during the interim period between the papal resignation and the election of a successor during the papal conclave, a period known as sede vacante. The account, along with its eight companion accounts in different languages, has almost three million followers.
The final general audience drew a crowd mixed with emotions ranging from somber to joyous. Vatican officials had given out 50,000 tickets for the event, but tens of thousands more showed up.
The leader of 1.2 billion Catholics around the globe has left his seat at the ornate Apostolic Palace and retired to Castel Gandolfo.
Today Benedict headed to his summer home in Castel Gandolfo, a former gardener's house in the hills outside Rome, to lead a quiet life of prayer.
The simple residence comes complete with ornate gardens. Benedict will stay here before moving to the Mater Ecclesiae convent, a plain, four-story structure, which formerly housed a cloistered convent in the Vatican gardens.
85-year-old Benedict's personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, is to continue to attend to Benedict in retirement. But Gaenswein is also to remain on as the personal secretary or head of the papal household to the new pontiff as well, the Vatican has said.
The Catholic Church will now rush to pick Benedict's replacement before Easter. Cardinal Angelo Scola, the Archbishop of Milan, is said to be one of the top contenders.
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