Jerusalem Catholics mourn the death of Pope Benedict XVI

Church bells rang this Sunday in the Old City of Jerusalem, where faithful Catholics mourned the death of emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

In front of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, built according to Christian tradition in the place where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected, Matteo Sassano, a 33-year-old Italian seminarian, said he had prayed for the memory of the late pope, who died on Saturday at 95 years.

"He was a great Pope (…) and a great companion of Pope Francis"he said, referring to Benedict XVI, who announced he was leaving his post in 2013 due to dwindling forces.

After his death, the apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, summoned all the priests to celebrate a mass in memory of Benedict XVI.

"[Pedimos] to all the churches and monasteries that ring the bells, as is our tradition. We also ask all priests to celebrate a Holy Mass for the repose of his soul. May the Lord grant you eternal rest"said the Latino patriarch.

The Holy Land and Jerusalem welcome thousands of Catholic pilgrims every year.

For Veronica Orzelek, a 23-year-old from Poland, the German pope emeritus was "an emblematic figure" in Poland.

Was a "Peaceful man"Don Faller, a 65-year-old American, told AFP. However, he admitted to being "more or less agree" with the traditionalist approach of Benedict XVI, which had led to criticism from within the Church.

Benedict XVI was, according to him, "in the continuity of old-fashioned Catholicism, that is, very conservative".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that Benedict XVI was "a true friend of the state of israel and the jewish people".

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas praised a man who "supported the freedom and independence of the Palestinian people".

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