The great wooden doors of the Sistine Chapel swung shut Tuesday, indicating the start of a conclave to elect a successor to the retired Benedict XVI.
The 115 "cardinal electors" made their solemn entrance into the famous Vatican chapel graced by Michelangelo's frescoes and swore an oath of secrecy for the duration of their deliberations.
Moments earlier, all non-cardinals were ordered to leave the chapel with the time-honoured Latin phrase "Extra Omnes!" (Everyone Out!).