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Papal apartment sealed as faithful flock to Pope's tomb


John Paul II's apartment has been definitively sealed and will not be reopened until it is occupied by the next pope, the Holy See reported on Tuesday.

catholicireland.net reports that the procedure followed what John Paul II established in No. 17 of the 1996 document "Universi Dominici Gregis," which states that the chamberlain "must also place seals on the Pope's study and bedroom, making provision that the personnel who ordinarily reside in the private apartment can remain there until after the burial of the Pope, at which time the entire papal apartment will be sealed."

The document also states that no-one should live in the Pope's private apartment during the period after the buriel of the Pope and the election of a new Pope.

Pope John Paul II shared the apartment with his two secretaries, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz and the Ukrainian priest of Russian origin, Monsignor Stanislaw Mietek, as well as five Polish nuns who looked after the Pope during his 26-year pontificate. All have moved temporarily to religious houses in Rome.

Meanwhile tens of thousands of people have visited the crypt containing the tomb of Pope John Paul II which opened to the public yesterday. From 7.00am they filed past the tomb in their thousands. Some had been queuing from 5.00am yesterday morning. Several thousand journalists accredited by the Holy See were given the opportunity to visit the tomb on Tuesday.

The Pope rests in the crypt where Blessed Pope John XXIII rested until his beatification. Karol Wojtyla's tomb is similar to that of Pope Paul VI; both are simple, as they requested in their last will and testament.

The main difference is the colour of the marker stone. The marble that covers Paul VI's tomb is darker than John Paul II's, which is white with gray streaks.

The tomb of the first Polish Pope bears his name "Ioannes Paulus PP II," in gilt letters. Beneath are the dates of his election as Bishop of Rome, 16.X.1978, and of his death, 1.IV.2005.

Further down is Christ's anagram with a "P" over an "X." A light and a candle are the only signs that differentiate John Paul II's tomb these days from those of other Popes buried there.

SOURCE
Papal apartment sealed as faithful flock to Pope's tomb (catholicireland.net 14/4/05)

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15 Apr 2005