A reigning pope and a former pope faced each other for the first time in at least 600 years on Saturday when Pope Francis travelled south of Rome for lunch with his predecessor, pope emeritus Benedict XVI.
Francis, who was elected on March 13, flew by helicopter to the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, where Benedict has been living since he abdicated on Feb. 28.
Footage released by the Vatican shows the two men, both dressed in nearly identical white clerical garb, including white skull caps, embracing shortly after the helicopter landed at the large estate.
The only difference in garb is that Francis also wears a short white cape over his cassock and a white sash around his waist – both symbols of his authority. On Saturday Benedict, who often suffered from chills, even indoors, wore a thick white vest over his cassock.
When they went to pray in the chapel, Benedict offered the place of honour, a kneeler before the altar, to Francis, who declined, saying, “We are brothers, we pray together”.