Below is a timeline of events since Benedict XVI announced he would resign as pope, to the election of Argentina's Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who will be known as Francis I, on Wednesday as his successor.
- 11: The 85-year-old Benedict XVI -- or Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected the 265th pope in April 2005, succeeding John Paul II -- announces he will resign on February 28, the first pope to do so in centuries.
He explains that his "strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry".
- 13: He urges an end to "religious hypocrisy" and "rivalry" in the Catholic Church at a final mass in St. Peter's Basilica.
- 14: In a message considered his theological last will and testament, Benedict calls for a "real renewal" in the Catholic Church in the spirit of the reformist Second Vatican Council of the 1960s.
- 24: Benedict delivers an emotional last Sunday prayer before tens of thousands of supporters in St Peter's Square, saying God had told him to devote himself to prayer but assuring supporters he will not "abandon" the Church.
- 25: The Vatican says that a secret report on a leaks scandal in 2012 which revealed intrigue and corruption in the Church will be shown exclusively to the future pope.
- 28: Benedict vows "unconditional obedience" to his successor on his final day as pope as he bids farewell to cardinals.
He arrives at Castel Gandolfo, the lakeside town where he will reside in the summer papal palace for the first two months of his retirement.
He makes his final farewell to followers telling them "he will become a simple pilgrim".
He officially resigns at 1900 GMT.
The ex-pontiff now formally carries the new title of "Roman Pontiff Emeritus" or "pope emeritus" for short, although he will still be addressed as "Your Holiness Benedict XVI".
An interim period known as the Sede Vacante (Vacant See) starts, during which the "chamberlain cardinal Tarcisio Bertone takes over Church affairs.
- 4: Cardinals begin pre-conclave meetings. Two special stoves are installed in the Sistine Chapel, one to burn the cardinals' ballots following two daily rounds of voting, and another which gives off smoke -- black, in case of failure to agree the 266th pope, and white, if a new pope has been elected.
- 12: Cardinals enter late in the afternoon the conclave, in absolute secrecy. The doors of the Sistine Chapel are locked. Black smoke follows the first vote.
- 13: Second and third votes: still no pope.
"Habemus papam !" After five votes, French cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran announces from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica the name of the new pope: Bergoglio, who will be named Francis I and becomes the first Jesuit pontiff and the first from the southern hemisphere.