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Historic Rituals Follow a Pope's Death


The death of a pope immediately sets into motion a series of historic rituals for the mourning of the death of the leader of the Roman Catholic church.

To verify the pope's death, the head of the Sacred College of Cardinals stands over the deceased and calls the pontiff by his baptismal name three times.

If there is no response, he announces the death and arranges for the Papal ring, known as the ring of the fisherman, and the papal seal both to be broken.

Upon news of the pontiff's death, church bells in Rome and throughout Italy begin tolling. The shutters on the pope's private apartment and the massive bronze doors beneath a portico off Saint Peter's Square are closed.

The cardinal then makes preparations for the Papal funeral rites and the traditional nine days of mourning.

Some information for this story provided by AFP and AP.