Pope Francis joins Instagram, asks followers to 'pray' for him

In a sign of the times, Pope Francis sent out a tweet to announce that he had joined Instagram today.

“I am beginning a new journey, on Instagram, to walk with you along the path of mercy and the tenderness of God,” he tweeted.

Within hours, the Catholic pontiff was nearing one million followers under his moniker @Franciscus, which is Latin for Francis.

His first photo featured him kneeling on a pew, and a simple request: “Pray for me” written in nine different languages.

According to the Vatican, the Pope’s Instagram account will “help recount the Papacy through images, to enable all those who wish to accompany and know more about Pope Francis’ pontificate to encounter his gestures of tenderness and mercy.”

In February, the Pope met with Instagram CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom, and they discussed the power of photographs.

Systrom was on hand as Pope Francis posted his first photo. He called it an “incredible moment” and said the leader’s “messages of humility, compassion and mercy will leave a lasting mark.”

The Catholic Church is the largest Christian church in the world with more than 1.25 billion members worldwide.

The Pope’s first two Instagram posts:

A photo posted by Pope Francis (@franciscus) on

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