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Work starts on moving pope John Paul II's body

New tomb to be placed near St Peter's entrance

13 January, 15:36
Work starts on moving pope John Paul II's body (see related story on beatification).

(ANSA) - Vatican City, January 13 - Work has begun in St Peter's on moving late pope John Paul II's body up from the crypt and into a chapel near Michelangelo's famous Pieta' statue, Vatican sources said Thursday.

The pope's body will be placed in a new tomb in the Chapel of St Sebastian when he is beatified, the second of three steps towards sainthood.

The beatification is expected to take place later this year, perhaps as early as April 2, the sixth anniversary of his death.

The chapel was chosen because it is close to the entrance to the basilica and so it will be easier for the Polish pontiff's hosts of admirers to get to, the sources said.

A mosaic of St Sebastian is being cleaned up and preparations are being made to move a previous pope, 17th-century pontiff Innocent XI, out of the chapel to make way for John Paul.

photo: John Paul in 1993