CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP/AP) – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI died at the age of 95 on Saturday morning.

Benedict was the first pope in 600 years to resign back in 2013 after eight years in the pontificate because he no longer had the strength to run the 1.2 billion-strong Catholic Church. His decision paved the way for the conclave that elected Pope Francis as his successor.

He made his last public appearances in February 2013 and boarded a helicopter to the papal summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo, to sit out the conclave in private. Benedict kept to his word that he would live a life of prayer in retirement, emerging only from his converted monastery for special events and writing occasional book prefaces and messages.

Benedict’s devotion to history and tradition endeared him to members of the traditionalist wing of the Catholic Church. For them, Benedict remained even in retirement a beacon of nostalgia for the orthodoxy and Latin Mass of their youth. A staunch defender of Catholic teaching, Benedict coined the term “dictatorship of relativism” to describe secularism’s increasing intolerance of religious belief in the 21st century.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said that Benedict’s remains would be on public display in St. Peter’s Basilica starting Monday for the faithful to pay their final respects. The Vatican also announced the former pope’s passing this morning, with no cause of death revealed.

Pope Francis is set to celebrate Benedict’s funeral Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Thursday, an unprecedented event in which a current Pope will celebrate the funeral of a former one. In line with Benedict’s wishes, his funeral will be “simple.”