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Pope's Body Taken to Saint Peter's Basilica

The body of Pope John Paul has arrived in Saint Peter's Basilica, where hundreds of thousands of pilgrims are expected to view the late pontiff over the next several days.

Vatican officials carried the pope's body in a solemn procession from the Apostolic Palace, through Saint Peter's Square, and before placing the body before the High Altar in the Basilica.

Tens of thousands of people in Saint Peter's Square applauded as the procession of hundreds of Roman Catholic clergy, Vatican officials and ceremonial guards carried the pope to the Basilica.

Saint Peter's Basilica will remain open for 22 hours a day until Friday's funeral (10 a.m. Rome time/0800 UTC) for pilgrims to view the body and pay their respects.

Pope John Paul will be buried Friday in a crypt below the Basilica.

Vatican officials expect about 100 heads of state and some two million pilgrims to attend Friday's funeral Mass for the Polish-born pontiff, who was 84. President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush will lead the U.S. delegation.

At least 65 cardinals met Monday to set the details of the funeral. However, a spokesman said the cardinals have not yet set a date for the conclave that will choose the next pope. They must begin meeting by April 22.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.