Updated 02/28/2013 12:03 PM
Pope Benedict steps down, arrives at Castel Gandolfo
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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI has said his final farewells to Cardinals and Catholics, as he prepares to enter a life of prayer and peace.
Pope Benedict XVI left the Apostolic Palace for the last time as pope. He also left the security of the Swiss Guard for the last time.
Pope Benedict XVI is the first pope in 600 years to resign from the papacy.
A helicopter swept the Pope off from Saint Peter's Square, retreating, for now, to Castel Gandolfo.
He met with College of Cardinals earlier Thursday, saying "harmony can be reached" when the conclave picks the next pope. Before resigning, Pope Benedict changed the rules of the conclave, making it possible that a new pope could be chosen before Easter Sunday.
Pope Benedict sent his religious message out on Twitter, launching his own account in December. But as of today, the account will be inactive.
The pope sent his last tweet Thursday shortly before he left the Vatican. It said "Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives.''
The pope sent about 39 tweets since his handle, @Pontifex, went online. The Twitter account isn't gone though. It will say inactive until the new Pope is appointed. The account will be available for the new Pontiff should he chose to use it.