The Pope is bidding his final farewells to cardinals, Vatican staff and the Catholic world, as he prepares for his retirement on Thursday night.

On his last day as pontiff, Pope Benedict XVII addressed cardinals in the Vatican's Clementine Hall, Benedict said: "Among you there is also the future pope to whom I promise my unconditional obedience and reverence."

The cardinals queued up after speeches to kiss the Pope's fisherman's ring, emotions clear on the faces of many.

At 7pm, when the Pope is officially retired, the first in 600 years, the Swiss Guards in attendance will go off duty, no longer bound to protect the head of the Catholic church.

Pope Benedict will head to his summer retreat, Castel Gandolfo, by helicopter. He will retain a butler, two secretaries and four memores, the laywomen who care for him. Residents of the town have put up silver balloon letters, welcoming the Pope, saying in Italian 'Thank you Benedict, we are all with you'.

In two months time, he will return to the Vatican to a convent, where lodgings are being renovated.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Benedict XVI

    Pope Benedict XVI waves from the balcony window of the Pontifical summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, some 35 kilometers south of Rome, to a cheering crowd gathered to see him the day he ends his pontificate, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

  • Pope Benedict XVI greets faithful from his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where Pope Benedict XVI will spend his first post-Vatican days and made his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Benedict XVI

    Pope Benedict XVI talks from the balcony window of the Pontifical summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, some 35 kilometers south of Rome, to a cheering crowd gathered to see him the day he ends his pontificate, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Benedict XVI greets faithful from his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where Pope Benedict XVI will spend his first post-Vatican days and made his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

  • Pope Benedict XVI greets faithful from his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where Pope Benedict XVI will spend his first post-Vatican days and made his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

  • Pope Benedict XVI greets faithful from his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where Pope Benedict XVI will spend his first post-Vatican days and made his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

  • Pope Benedict XVI leaves after greeting the faithful from the balcony window of the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where he will spend his first post-Vatican days and made his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Benedict XVI walks away after addressing the crowd from the window of the Pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where he will spend his first post-Vatican days and make his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

  • Benedict XVI

    In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI delivers his message on the occasion of his farewell meeting to cardinals, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Benedict XVI promised his "unconditional reverence and obedience" to his successor in his final words to his cardinals Thursday, a poignant farewell before he becomes the first pope in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

  • Benedict XVI

    In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI delivers his message on the occasion of his farewell meeting to cardinals, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Benedict XVI promised his "unconditional reverence and obedience" to his successor in his final words to his cardinals Thursday, a poignant farewell before he becomes the first pope in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

  • A picture of German German-born Pope Benedict XVI is seen in front of worshipers prior to a thanksgiving service for outgoing pope Benedict XVI. at the St. Hedwig cathedral in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. At 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

  • Nuns arrive for a service thanksgiving service for outgoing pope Benedict XVI. at the St. Hedwig cathedral in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. At 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

  • This image taken from video provided by CTV via AP video shows the helicopter carrying Pope Benedict XVI on his way to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo passing over the Colosseum in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Benedict XVI greeted the faithful for the last time as pope on Thursday, telling tearful well-wishers that he is beginning the final stage of his life as "simply a pilgrim," hours before he becomes the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. The pope's journey into retirement began with an emotion-drenched sendoff from the Vatican, with Swiss Guards in full regalia standing in attention and prelates kneeling to kiss the papal ring — Benedict's closest aide weeping by his side. (AP Photo/CTV via AP Video)

  • A helicopter with Pope Benedict XVI onboard leaves the Vatican in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. The 85-year-old German Pope Benedict is stepping down on Thursday evening, the first pope to do so in 600 years, after saying he no longer has the mental or physical strength to vigorously lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

  • A helicopter with Pope Benedict XVI onboard leaves the Vatican in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. The 85-year-old German Pope Benedict is stepping down on Thursday evening, the first pope to do so in 600 years, after saying he no longer has the mental or physical strength to vigorously lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

  • Nuns wait for the beginning of a thanksgiving service for outgoing pope Benedict XVI. at the St. Hedwig cathedral in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. At 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • Nuns wait for the beginning of a thanksgiving service for outgoing pope Benedict XVI. at the St. Hedwig cathedral in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. At 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • Monks on a roof wave as the helicopter with Pope Benedict XVI onboard leaves the Vatican in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. The 85-year-old German Pope Benedict is stepping down on Thursday evening, the first pope to do so in 600 years, after saying he no longer has the mental or physical strength to vigorously lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

  • A helicopter with Pope Benedict XVI onboard leaves the Vatican in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. The 85-year-old German Pope Benedict is stepping down on Thursday evening, the first pope to do so in 600 years, after saying he no longer has the mental or physical strength to vigorously lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

  • Nuns wait for the beginning of a thanksgiving service for outgoing pope Benedict XVI. at the St. Hedwig cathedral in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. At 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

  • A poster of Pope Benedict XVI with writing reading in Italian," You will stay always with us. Thank you" is seen near Rome's Capitol Hill, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Benedict will leave the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI's studio window is framed by columns of the Bernini colonnade, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Benedict will leave the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • The statue of St. Peter is back dropped by the central lodge of the St. Peter's Basilica where the newly elected Pope appears shortly after his election, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI will leave the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • A couple sits inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI will leave the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Visitors walk around inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI will leave the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Two men stand with a banner reading "Poland Thanks You" on the Zamkowy Square in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, on the final day of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy. At 8 p.m. Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

  • Visitors take a rest in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI will leave the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Workers dismantle the stage where on Wednesday Pope Benedict XVI attended his last general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Benedict XVI will leave the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Nuns stand in front of the pope's summer residence, building in the background, in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Benedict will leave the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

  • Young women from Spain dance in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI will leave the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • A calendar with an image of Pope Benedict XVI is seen in a shop window as a nun looks at it and a woman rests, in Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where Pope Benedict XVI will spend his first post-Vatican days and make his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

  • Two nuns stand in front of Pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where Pope Benedict XVI will spend his first post-Vatican days and make his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

  • Faithful gather in front of Pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where Pope Benedict XVI will spend his first post-Vatican days and make his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

  • Workers remove barriers used for Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict will leave the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Workers dismantle the stage where on Wednesday Pope Benedict XVI attended his last general audience, beneath the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica where the newly elected Pope appears shortly after his election, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI will leave the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Nuns pray in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict will leave the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • A nun clasps her hands as she waits near the Pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where Pope Benedict XVI will spend his first post-Vatican days and make his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

  • People wait for the taking off of the helicopter which will take Pope Benedict XVI to Castel Gandolfo in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict will leave the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • A priest enters the square where the papal summer residence is located, in Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where Pope Benedict XVI will spend his first post-Vatican days and make his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • People wait for the taking off of the helicopter which will take Pope Benedict XVI to Castel Gandolfo in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict will leave the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • People wait for the taking off of the helicopter which will take Pope Benedict XVI to Castel Gandolfo in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict will leave the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • A priest enters the square where the papal summer residence is located, in Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where Pope Benedict XVI will spend his first post-Vatican days and make his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Nuns stand in front of the pope's summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where Pope Benedict XVI will spend his first post-Vatican days and make his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

  • Faithful gather in front of Pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where Pope Benedict XVI will spend his first post-Vatican days and make his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

  • The helicopter taking Pope Benedict XVI to Castel Gandolfo leaves the Vatican in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict left the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, headed to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and flew to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • The helicopter taking Pope Benedict XVI to Castel Gandolfo leaves the Vatican in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict left the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, headed to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and flew to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • The helicopter taking Pope Benedict XVI to Castel Gandolfo leaves the Vatican in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict left the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, headed to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and flew to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • The helicopter taking Pope Benedict XVI to Castel Gandolfo leaves the Vatican in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict left the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, headed to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and flew to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • The helicopter taking Pope Benedict XVI to Castel Gandolfo leaves the Vatican in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict left the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, headed to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and flew to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • The helicopter taking Pope Benedict XVI to Castel Gandolfo leaves the Vatican in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict left the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, headed to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and flew to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • The helicopter taking Pope Benedict XVI to Castel Gandolfo leaves the Vatican in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Pope Benedict left the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, headed to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and flew to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Related on HuffPost: