Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation from the papal office effective Feb. 28, The Vatican Today reports.
The Pontiff made the announcement early this morning, citing his age and health concerns as the primary reason for leaving the position.
“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” Pope Bendict XVI said.
Pope Benedict XVI, formerly known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was elected as the successor to Pope John Paul II in April of 2005.
He will be the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years. Pope Gregory XII stepped down in 1415 “in a deal to end the Great Western Schism” the Associated Press reports.
A new pope will likely be elected next month, the AP reports.
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