The first Tomb
of Pope John Paul II, who's funeral was held on April 8, 2005,
was on the north side of the Grottoes, less than 100 ft from the
Tomb of St. Peter. John Paul II was interred in an area that had
held the sarcophagus of Pope John XXIII. After being declared
Blessed in 2000, John XXIII's body was transferred up to the St.
Jerome Altar in the basilica on June 3, 2001.
On May 1,
2011 John Paul II was moved under the
Altar of St
Sebastian after being declared blessed.
II was laid to rest in a cypress coffin, which served as the innermost
of the three traditional coffins. This was placed into a larger
solid zinc casket, which was soldered shut. This coffin was adorned
with three bronze plaques: a simple cross at the head of the coffin,
a middle plaque with the Pope's name and the length of his life
and pontificate, and a third with Pope John Paul II's personal
coat of arms at the foot. The zinc casket was finally lowered
into a larger walnut (traditionally elm) casket, bearing three
identical plaques, which was shut with nails of pure gold.