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Vatican to display John XXIII's body in St Peter's Square

The Vatican said on Monday that it will put the body of Pope John XXIII on display in St Peter's Square on June 3, the 38th anniversary of his death and the Feast of Pentecost.

It said the body, encased in a bronze and glass coffin, will be on display for the faithful to venerate.

John XXIII, who died in 1963, is one of the most beloved pontiffs of modern times. He was beatified last year and is widely expected to eventually be canonised.

The decision to put his body on display is regarded as a clear sign of the Vatican's enthusiasm for his eventual sainthood. A number of dead popes can be viewed on the lower levels of St Peter's Basilica, but it is unusual for one to go on display in the square.

Vatican officials recently examined John's body and reportedly found it was in a good state of preservation.