Burial ceremony held for former Pope Benedict

STORY: After the service, the coffin was wrapped in red ribbons in the form of a cross. Workers later put it in a zinc casket and soldered that shut, Vatican pictures showed. Both were then put into a wooden casket, which was lowered into a crypt.

An account of Benedict's papacy, along with other items, including Vatican coins minted during his reign, were tucked into the coffin. The account, written in Latin, says he "fought with firmness" against sexual abuse by clergy in the Church.

While many leading figures have praised Benedict since his death, criticism has also been aired, including by victims of clergy sexual abuse, who have accused him of seeking to protect the Church at all costs

People from all over the world, many from Benedict's native Germany, arrived in the early hours to say farewell during the funeral mass presided over by Pope Francis.

More than 1,000 Italian security personnel were called up to help safeguard the event, and air space around the tiny Holy See was closed off for the day. Italy ordered that flags around the country be flown at half staff.

Italian police said about 50,000 people were in the square.