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Pope’s Final Audience (Photos)

Epoch Times Staff Created: February 27, 2013 Last Updated: February 28, 2013
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Pope Benedict XVI walks to the altar as he arrives at St. Peter's Square for his last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013, at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI held the last audience of his pontificate in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday on the eve of his historic resignation as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI walks to the altar as he arrives at St. Peter's Square for his last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013, at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI held the last audience of his pontificate in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday on the eve of his historic resignation as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI gave his final audience in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City State, starting at 11 a.m. local time on Wednesday. The Pope will formally abdicate on Thursday, citing health and advancing age as his reasons. 

He said that in his eight years as Pope, he had experienced, “moments of joy and light, but also moments that were not easy.”

“I no longer wield the power of the office for the government of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, within St. Peter’s bounds,” he said, according to a Vatican transcript of his address. 

Tens of thousands gathered in the square to bid thanks and farewell. 

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives in the "Popemobile" in St. Peter's Square for his last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013 at the Vatican. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives in the "Popemobile" in St. Peter's Square for his last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013 at the Vatican. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

The faithful fill St Peter's Square ahead of Pope Benedict XVI final general audience before his retirement on Feb. 27, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

The faithful fill St Peter's Square ahead of Pope Benedict XVI final general audience before his retirement on Feb. 27, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Faithful hold a placard reading "Thank you for Etzelsbach, Erfurt (German cities), and many more," during Pope Benedict XVI's last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013 at St Peter's Square at the Vatican. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

Faithful hold a placard reading "Thank you for Etzelsbach, Erfurt (German cities), and many more," during Pope Benedict XVI's last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013 at St Peter's Square at the Vatican. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

Cardinals listen during the pontiff's last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013 at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Cardinals listen during the pontiff's last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013 at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI leads his last weekly audience at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Feb. 27, 2013. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI leads his last weekly audience at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Feb. 27, 2013. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI (L) kisses a baby held by secretary Georg Gaenswein as the Pope arrives at St. Peter's Square for his last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI (L) kisses a baby held by secretary Georg Gaenswein as the Pope arrives at St. Peter's Square for his last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI waves from the altar in St. Peter's Square for his last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013, at the Vatican. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI waves from the altar in St. Peter's Square for his last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013, at the Vatican. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Faithful listen during Pope Benedict XVI's last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013, in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

Faithful listen during Pope Benedict XVI's last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013, in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

Faithful attend Pope Benedict XVI's last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013 at St Peter's Square at the Vatican. A sunny day, the local temperature was 11 degrees Celsius (51.8 Fahrenheit). (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

Faithful attend Pope Benedict XVI's last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013 at St Peter's Square at the Vatican. A sunny day, the local temperature was 11 degrees Celsius (51.8 Fahrenheit). (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI waves from to the altar during his last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013, at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI waves from to the altar during his last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013, at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Nuns look from a window onto St. Peter's Square as Pope Benedict XVI gives his last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013, at the Vatican. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

Nuns look from a window onto St. Peter's Square as Pope Benedict XVI gives his last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013, at the Vatican. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

Faithful hold a placard with a drawing showing Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square at Pope Benedict XVI's last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013 at the Vatican. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Faithful hold a placard with a drawing showing Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square at Pope Benedict XVI's last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013 at the Vatican. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman reads a magazine featuring Pope Benedict XVI before watching the Pope in person give his last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013, at the Vatican. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman reads a magazine featuring Pope Benedict XVI before watching the Pope in person give his last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013, at the Vatican. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI (R) leaves the altar with secretary Georg Gaenswein at the end of his last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013, at St Peter's Square at the Vatican. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Benedict XVI (R) leaves the altar with secretary Georg Gaenswein at the end of his last weekly audience on Feb. 27, 2013, at St Peter's Square at the Vatican. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

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