Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Saint Peter's Square for a historic day of four popes with Francis and Benedict XVI honouring their predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II and declaring them saints in the first ever canonisation of two pontiffs.
Polish pilgrims carrying the red and white flags of John Paul's homeland were among the first to press into the square well before sunrise, held back by human chains of neon-vested civil protection workers trying to maintain order.
Crowds expected to reach a million people have begun gathering in Saint Peter's Square and nearby streets of Rome to watch the Vatican canonise two Popes.
Up to one million people are expected in Saint Peter's Square and nearby streets of Rome to witness the canonisation of John XXIII and John Paul II, two of the great popes of the 20th century.
John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and set up the modernising Second Vatican Council, and John Paul II, the Pole who reigned for nearly 27 years and played a leading role on the world stage, will be declared saints by Pope Francis.
Francis' own huge popularity has added extra appeal to the unprecedented ceremony to raise two former leaders of the church to sainthood. But while both were widely revered, there has also been criticism that John Paul II, who only died nine years ago, has been canonised too quickly.
Thousands of pilgrims are bedding down for the night in Vatican City ahead of tomorrow's canonisation of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII.
Thousands of pilgrims are flocking to Saint Peter's Square in Vatican City ahead of the canonisation ceremonies of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII.
Dozens of pilgrims from John Paul II's native Poland arrived in Rome earlier and set up a camp to make sure they secure the best spots for tomorrow.
More than 200,000 faithful are expected to watch the ceremony at Saint Peter's Square.
Two former Popes of the Roman Catholic Church are set to become saints at an unprecedented twin canonisation by Pope Francis, that has aroused both joy and controversy in the 1.2 billion member Church.
Pope John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and called the modernising Second Vatican Council, and Pope John Paul II, who reigned for nearly 27 years before his death in 2005, will be declared saints in a ceremony tomorrow.
While John died half a century ago, critics say the canonisation of John Paul - which sets a record for modern times of only nine years after his death - is too hasty.
Some critics also believe he was slow to grasp the seriousness of the sexual abuse crisis that emerged towards the end of his pontificate.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have been meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican this afternoon, following a lunch with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.
She told the head of the Catholic Church: "I hope we haven't kept you waiting, we were having lunch with the president."
German customs officials intercepted a package addressed to the Vatican containing 14 cocaine-filled condoms, passing it onto Vatican police with the hope a culprit may claim it.
A finance ministry spokesman confirmed the incident as reported in German Bild am Sonntag (£) was seized in January at Leipzig international airport.
The package was posted from an unnamed South American country and addressed to the main postal centre at the Vatican. It had remained unclaimed since January, with investigators believing the intended recipient was likely tipped off to the package's interception.
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