Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation Monday, becoming the first pope to do so in almost 600 years, CNN reported.
Benedict, 85, said he is stepping down "because of advanced age", noting that he no longer has the energy to "adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to [him]," according to the Vatican as reported by CNN.
Benedict made the announcement in Latin on Monday morning during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, The Associated Press reported.
Benedict will devote the rest of his life to prayer and reflection in a monastery. He will not be involved in the church's decision of his successor, CNN reported.
According to NPR's Sylvia Poggioli, the pope had been planning on stepping down for some time.
The last pope to resign, Pope Gregory XII, did so in 1415, NPR reported.