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Conclave For Pope Election Draws Pilgrims To St Peter's Basilica In Vatican (PICTURES)

12/03/2013 13:45 GMT | Updated 12/03/2013 14:39 GMT

Thousands of pilgrims flocked to St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday to join in a pre-conclave Mass as cardinals prepare to vote for the next Pope.

The voting will begin later in the afternoon in the Michelangelo-adorned 16th century Sistine Chapel.

All eyes outside will be trained on the chapel's rickety chimney which wil vent white smoke when a new Pope is chosen, black if the cardinals remain undecided.

There is no time limit to reach a decision, the last conclave in 2005 lasted two days but in 1268, it took 33 months to elect Pope Gregory X.