The Death of Pope John Paul I

Author: LOR


L'Osservatore Romano

His Holiness Pope John Paul I is dead. His death took place in the Apostolic Palace about eleven o'clock on the evening of 28 September, little more that a month after his election. He had been elected on the evening of 26 August. The news of the Pope's unexpected death caused widespread sorrow and shock.

The first person to become aware of Pope John Paul's death was his private secretary, Father John Magee. The latter at once informed Cardinal Jean Villot, Secretary of State and Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church. That was in the early hours of the morning of 29 September. The Cardinal Secretary of State went at once to the Pope's room where he testified that the Pope was dead. Meanwhile the doctors in attendance attributed death to a coronary thrombosis. They considered that it took place about eleven o'clock on the previous evening (28 September).

The Dean of the Sacred College, Cardinal Carlo Confalonieri, and the Pope's Vicar for the city of Rome, Cardinal Ugo Poletti, were then informed. About 9 a.m. the formal recognition that the Pope was dead was made by the Cardinal Camerlengo in the presence of representatives of the Papal Household.

The Dean of the Sacred College, Cardinal Confalonieri, indicated that the first meeting of Cardinals would be held at 11 o'clock on Saturday morning, 30 September.

Notice of the Pope's death was given as follows: "This morning, 29 September 1978, about 5.30, the private Secretary of the Pope, contrary to custom not having found the Holy Father in the chapel of his private apartment, looked for him in his room and found him dead in bed with the light on, like one who was intent on reading. The physician, Dr Renato Buzzonnetti, who hastened at once, verified the death as having presumably taken place around eleven o'clock yesterday evening through an acute coronary thrombosis."

Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
5 October 1978, page 1

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