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Pope John Paul’s Coffin Exhumed, His Blood On Show For Adoration

April 29, 2011

The pageantry of these moments are bigger than life it seems, and regardless of ones’ faith these times are amazing to watch.

Pope John Paul’s coffin was exhumed on Friday ahead of his beatification as tens of thousands of people began arriving in Rome for one of the biggest events since his funeral in 2005.

The Vatican said the coffin was removed from the crypts below St Peter’s Basilica while top Vatican officials and some of the late pope’s closest aides looked on and prayed.

Those present at the ceremony included Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, his personal secretary and right-hand man for decades, and the Polish nuns who ran the papal household for 27 years.

The wooden coffin will be placed in front of the main altar of St Peter’s Basilica. After Sunday’s beatification mass, it will remain in that spot and the basilica will remain open until all visitors who want to view it have done so.

It will then be moved to a new crypt under an altar in a side chapel near Michelangelo’s statue of the Pieta. The marble slab that covered his first burial place will be sent to Poland.

As for the blood of the former pope….this is where the pageantry just turns weird.

On Friday, Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone and Krakow Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, John Paul’s former personal secretary, reportedly held a brief ceremony by the pope’s coffin before it was carried from Saint Peter’s tomb.

The coffin will be brought into Saint Peter’s Basilica for the ceremony. Pilgrims will be able to file past it afterward to pay their respects.

A sample of John Paul’s blood, taken from the ailing pope during the last days of his life in 2005 in case they were needed during a transfusion, will also be put on show for adoration. The blood, held in four containers at the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, was never used and has remained in a liquid state due to an anti-coagulant in the containers.

Two of the vials have been kept by Cardinal Dziwisz.

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