Show Menu

A moving and memorable morning: Pope Benedict takes his farewell

Rome 27 February 2013

pope Benedict - last day

Benedict XVI on popemobile

Over 200,000 people in St.Peter’s Square and the streets beyond demonstrated their support for the frail pontiff, and their empathy for his successor. There was applause and there were tears as Benedict XVI, in the last public speech he will ever make, thanked the crowd for their expressions of love and faith.

pope Benedict - last day

The ‘sede vacante’

The jeep moved through the arches…and he was gone!

pope Benedict - last day

Benedict XVI leaving Audience

The Order of Malta, which runs a first aid post every Wednesday and Sunday at the Vatican, recorded a hectic morning, with numerous patients. The Order of Malta’s Aline Dobrzensky, a long-time volunteer at the Post, recounts: ‘A young American/ Italian couple came in with a two-week old baby, as the mother was feeling faint. When she recovered and felt better, they stood by the door of the Post, just as Pope Benedict was leaving after the Papal Audience in his white jeep. He turned and gave our whole team a lovely wave and a smile, to say farewell. The white jeep then suddenly stopped and the mother held up her baby to His Holiness. The Pope, who is a member of the Order of Malta, gently kissed the baby boy – who was called Benedict – on his forehead and gave us all such a lovely smile. Then the jeep moved on through the arches … and he was gone!’

pope Benedict - last day

First aid post volunteer group

The Order of Malta’s First Aid Post in the Vatican has been running Wednesdays and Sundays since 1975. It is staffed by 85 members and volunteers, including doctors, nurses and trained first aiders. The Post is at the disposal of all pilgrims who visit St.Peter’s for papal audiences and Masses.

News Archive

2020 - 2019 - 2018 - 2017 - 2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012



The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.