Pope Benedict XVI waved a final goodbye on Thursday from the balcony of the papal residence before starting a life of retirement as the first pontiff to resign in over 700 years.
Pope Benedict XVI waves to faithful from a balcony upon arrival in Castel Gandolfo on February 28, 2013. The pope left the Vatican for the last time as pontiff before he steps down as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, becoming the first pope to resign in 700 years.
"I will no longer be pope but a simple pilgrim who is starting out on the last part of his pilgrimage on this Earth," the pope told thousands of cheering supporters gathered in a square outside the Castel Gandolfo palace.
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