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Body of Pope Taken to St. Peter’s Basilica

June 4, 1963 - The body of Pope John XXIII was taken today to St. Peter’s Basilica, where he had received the homage and acclaim of thousands during his lifetime. While the yellow and white pontifical flag flew at half-staff over the Vatican buildings, the body of the 261st Pope was carried into the largest church in Christendom. The procession was marked by great pomp amid all the magnificence of the pontifical court. Thirty Cardinals and many foreign diplomats accompanied the body across the square. Tonight, the body lay in state before the Altar of the Confession, or main altar, directly under Michelangelo’s mighty, soaring dome. The expression on Pope John’s face was serene and peaceful. There were no traces of the sufferings the Pope had endured in four days of agony before his death yesterday at the age of 81. The body of the Pope lay in state in full pontifical robes. A magnificent gold miter was on the Pope’s head, and his interlaced fingers held a crucifix and rosary.


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