Vatican City

Retired pope Benedict moving back to Vatican Thursday

Two pontiffs living in Vatican for first time in history

Retired pope Benedict moving back to Vatican Thursday

Vatican City, April 30 - Benedict XVI will return to the Vatican on Thursday to move into his permanent home at a renovated convent, Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Tuesday. The former pope has been staying at the summer papal residence at Castel Gandolfo since stepping down at the end of February. In March he was succeeded by former Buenos Aires archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who took the name Francis. Benedict, who is now known as pope emeritus, will reside at the Mater Ecclesiae convent just a short walk away from Pope Francis, marking the first time two pontiffs have lived in the Vatican simultaneously. The ex-pope announced his resignation in February citing declining mental and physical strength, becoming the first pope to voluntarily abdicate in over 700 years. "He's an elderly man, weakened by age, but he has no illness," said the Vatican spokesman. Benedict will be joined at his new home by Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, his personal secretary, and members of Memores Domini, the conservative lay-Catholic group who staffed his apartment during his pontificate. His home includes a guest room for his brother Georg as well as an elevator. Benedict's quarters are up the first flight of stairs. The Vatican specified that Benedict's secretary Birgit Wansing will not live with the pope.

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