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Requiem for 'the Great'

The pope also suffered acute breathing failure, low blood pressure, insufficient blood flow and an enlarged prostate gland. The death certificate said the urinary tract infection that poisoned his blood was a complication of the prostate problem.

The statement said that the Vatican's chamberlain, or camerlengo, Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, confirmed the pope's death, as required by church regulations. Martinez Somalo is the interim spiritual leader of the church, though he lacks governing authority.

Cardinals pray over the body of Pope John Paul II, lying in state in the Vatican's Clementine Hall. Public viewing will begin this afternoon at St. Peter's Basilica. The pope died Saturday night at age 84. (Italian Presidency Photo Enrico Oliverio Via AP)

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In past eras, the chamberlain is said to have authenticated a pope's death by tapping his forehead three times with a silver hammer and calling out his given name. On Saturday, confirmation was by means of 20 minutes of monitoring with a special electrocardiograph.

The pope's body lay atop a bier Sunday in Clementine Hall, a reception room down the hall from the apartment where he died. John Paul was attired in red vestments. A white miter was set on his head, which rested on three golden damask pillows. The pope's familiar long silver pastoral staff was tucked under his left arm. Folded hands held a wooden rosary.

His face showed traces of a death agony. His cheeks were drawn, with deep creases.

Swiss Guards dressed in 16th-century orange-and-blue uniforms flanked the bier. Cardinals in white lace doffed scarlet skullcaps as they bowed and kneeled before the body.

Tears rimmed the eyes of Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, the pope's private secretary and longtime friend. Dziwisz and other Polish clerics and nuns who made up John Paul's "household," as it was called, sat in pews to the pope's left.

Italian politicians, led by President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, paid respects. Gregorian chants and prayers recited in Latin echoed through the room.

Somalo sprinkled the body with holy water. "We thank you, God, for the good things that you gave your church through him," he said. "O God of mercy, our Pope John Paul II received the light of faith while he lived on Earth. Now he is coming to you, his lamp lit."

In the square, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, who was the pope's voice when he was unable to speak because of illness, delivered a prayer that Vatican officials said John Paul had been scheduled to deliver on this Sunday. "I do it with much honor and so much nostalgia," Sandri said before reading the prayer.

"To all humanity, which today seems so lost and dominated by the power of evil, selfishness and fear, our resurrected Lord gives us his love which forgives, reconciles and reopens the soul to hope," the message read.

Sodano, in his spoken remarks, did not describe John Paul as "the Great." The phrase was in the written text, however, and under Vatican rules, what is written is official. There was no explanation for the inconsistency.

The only other popes to be called "the Great" were Leo I, a 5th-century pontiff who warded off an attack on Rome by Attila the Hun, and Gregory I, who at the turn of the 7th century protected Rome against invading Lombards.

Sodano is already the subject of rumors of Vatican intrigue following a breach of protocol. Under church rules, the death should have been announced by the pope's assistant as bishop of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini. But Sodano told Sandri to announce the news in St. Peter's Square, Vatican officials said. Ruini heard it on television. Ruini released his announcement Sunday, in writing. "We thank God for giving us a pastor who with his life and word has taken with untiring courage the path on which Christ guides men," it said.

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