Pope Benedict XVI to retire today
Vatican City, Feb 28 : The 85-year-old Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday will retire as the leader of Roman Catholics due to his "advanced age", repeating history for the first time in 600 years.
The Pope on Wednesday had admitted "stormy waters" during his papacy as he gave his farewell speech in St Peter's Square in Vatican City, on the eve of his resignation.
More than 150,000 people had gathered to give a smiling Benedict his historic sendoff.
The Pope had said his decision to resign had not been an easy one but had been taken for the good of the Church.
"I took this step in full awareness of its gravity and novelty but with profound serenity of spirit...I will continue to accompany the Church with prayer and reflection," the 85-year-old had said.
"The Lord gave us days of sun and of light breeze, days in which the fishing was good. There were also moments when there were stormy waters and headwinds... as if God was sleeping," the pope had said.
"But I always knew that God was in that boat and I always knew that the boat of the Church is not mine, is not ours, but is his and he will not let it sink," he had added.
The Vatican on Tuesday said Pope Benedict XVI will become 'Pontiff emeritus' or 'Pope emeritus' after resigning on Thursday.
"He will keep the name of "His Holiness, Benedict XVI" and will dress in a simple white cassock without the mozzetta (elbow-length cape)," the Vatican had said.
Surprising followers across the globe, Pope Benedict XVI on Feb 11 announced he will resign on Feb 28.
He is the first pontiff to make the move in 600 years, reports said.
Pope Benedict XVI decided to resign due to 'advanced age'.
Pope Benedict XVI is the 265th Pope. He was elected on Apr 19, 2005.
Pertinently, he was elected after the death of Pope John Paul II.
Roman Catholic Church, largest of the Christian denominations with about 1.2 billion adherents, is headed by the Pope and headquartered in Vatican.
"The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415. He did so to end a civil war within the church in which more than one man claimed to be pope," CNN reported.