Pope Benedict XVI resigns to live as 'pilgrim'
Vatican City, Mar 1 : Pope Benedict XVI officially resigned Thursday, saying that he now "will simply be a pilgrim" starting his last journey on earth.
The 85-year-old pontiff was earlier flown by helicopter from the Vatican to his retreat at Castel Gandolfo, near Rome. The college of cardinals, headed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, is now in charge of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics until a new pope is elected, BBC reported.
Benedict vowed "unconditional obedience and reverence" to his successor.
He stepped down after nearly eight years in office - the first pontiff to do so in 600 years.
Benedict, in his days in retirement, will now wear a simple white cassock rather than his papal clothes, and swap his famous red shoes - the colour symbolic of the blood of the early Christian martyrs - for brown.