Israeli President Shimon Peres, a Nobel peace laureate, said he was "saddened" to hear of Benedict`s departure, and praised the outgoing pope for strengthening ties between the Vatican and the Jewish state.
Otherwise known as Joseph Ratzinger was elected in April 2005 when Pope John Paul II died.
Fresh paedophilia cover-up claims hit Pope Benedict XVI as church files suggested he had failed to take action against a US priest accused of molesting up to 200 deaf boys.
Day in Pics: 22nd December
Showbiz World - December 22, 2014
Sunny Leone with Mastizaade