Vatican Opens Pope John Paul’s Tomb to Public

Thousands of pilgrims and tourists filed passed the tomb of Pope John Paul II on Wednesday, after the Vatican reopened the grottoes beneath St. Peter’s Bascilica to the public for the first time since the pope died.

According to the Associated Press, pilgrims lined up in the morning as early as 4.a.m., three hours before the grottoes were reopened. Many knelt before the grave to pray and handed religious articles to an usher who, who touched the grave with the object and handed it back.

The grave lies just steps above from the tomb believed to be that of the first pope, apostle Peter. The grave also satisfies John Paul’s wishes, written in his last will, to be buried in the “bare earth, not a tomb”.