It begins with a procession of cardinals into the Sistine Chapel and ends with a puff of white smoke from the roof of the Vatican. In the process, a new pope will be elected to lead the Roman Catholic Church, filling the role left vacant by Pope Benedict XVI's surprise resignation.
There are 115 cardinals under the age of 80 eligible to vote for the next pope. They will be shut off from the outside world while they deliberate in a ritual that dates back centuries. Bookmark this page for live results from the papal conclave and the best photos and videos, updated throughout the day.
UPDATE: Black smoke emerged from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney Tuesday afternoon, indicating that a new pope had not been chosen.
The cardinals will vote next on Wednesday morning, and there will be a maximum of four votes a day until a new pope is chosen.
A victor must win the support of 77 cardinals, or two-thirds of the vote, according to the CBC.
Many predicted a failure to agree on a pope during the first ballot. No clear favourite had become apparent beforehand, although many names have been suggested.
Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola and Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Scherer are two strong candidates, according to the Associated Press. Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet has also been described as a contender.
- LIVE: STREAMING & RESULTS
- PHOTOS: CARDINALS CELEBRATE MASS BEFORE CONCLAVE
- IN DEPTH: RELIGION COVERAGE