Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he will resign at the end of February, citing failing health. It will be the first time a pope has resigned since Gregory XII in the 15th century.
"Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me," the pope said in his resignation statement, CNN reports.
The 85-year-old Benedict, whose given name is Joseph Ratzinger, will officially resign on Feb. 28 and cardinals will then convene to elect a new leader for the Catholic church. A spokesperson for the church said a new pontiff will be named by Easter (March 31), according to CNN.
Benedict was elected pope in 2005. Following his resignation, it's likely he will retire to a monastery.