VATICAN CITY (MSNBC)–Presidents–prime ministers–and kings joined pilgrims and prelates in St. Peter’s Square on Friday to bid an emotional farewell to Pope John Paul II at a funeral that drew millions to Rome.
Applause rang out in the wind-whipped square as John Paul’s plain cypress coffin–adorned with a cross and an "M" for the Virgin Mary–was brought out from St. Peter’s Basilica and placed on a carpet in front of the altar. The book of the Gospel was placed on the coffin and the breeze fluttered its pages.
After the Mass ended–bells tolled and 12 pallbearers with white gloves–white ties and tails presented the coffin to the crowd one last time–and then carried it on their shoulders back inside the basilica for burial.
Chants of "Santo! Santo!"–urging John Paul to be elevated to sainthood immediately–echoed in the square.
The first non-Italian pope in 455 years was buried at 2:20 p.m. in the grotto under the basilica–attended by prelates and members of the papal household–the Vatican said.