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'Good Pope' to get final burial in St Peter's

The body of Pope John XXIII will be moved to a new resting place in. St Peter's Basilica on Sunday after a mass on the 38th anniversary of his death.

The body will be brought from its current burial place, in the narrow ancient grottoes beneath St Peter's where many other popes are laid, into St Peter's Square.

Pope John Paul II will then lead a mass in the square before the late pope's body is brought to its final resting place within the basilica.

Pope John Paul decided to move Pope John XXIII onto the main floor of the basilica because of the late pontiff's huge popularity and historical role in the Catholic Church.

Nearly four decades after his death, Pope John, known as the "Good Pope" because of his benevolent and jovial nature, remains one of history's most beloved pontiffs with a particularly devout following in Italy.

Millions of followers come to pray at his tomb every year. He has been credited with curing an Italian nun of a stomach tumor. She says she prayed to him and quickly recovered with no medical explanation. Pope John Paul beatified Pope John last year, the penultimate step before sainthood.

When his coffin was opened in January as part of the preparation to move his body up to the basilica, it was discovered not to have decomposed. Vatican officials have been careful not to attribute the preservation of his body directly to a miracle. When he died, his body was not embalmed but Italian media reports said it was treated with the preservative formalin before it lay in state.