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Tech-savvy Pope Francis is set to take his selfie skills to Instagram in another bid to connect with the younger generation of worshippers. The revered pontiff already has a hugely successful Twitter account that boasts 8.87 million followers and tweets in Latin, Italian, French Spanish, and Arabic.
Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is set to join the photo-sharing social media app on 19 March with the handle of "Franciscus", according to Italian newswire ANSA. The leap to Instagram – fast becoming the world's favourite way to share pictures online – comes on the third anniversary of the religious leader's inauguration as the head of the Catholic Church.
In the past, the Argentinian-born pontiff has praised the use of technology and the internet for the ability to connect to millions of Catholics worldwide. In fact the 266th Pope waited just four days before he joined Twitter in March 2013.
According to Kevin Systrom, the founder and CEO of Instagram, he had a sit down meeting with the pope at the Vatican last month. "We spoke about the power of images to unite people across different cultures and languages," Systrom wrote in a post on his Instagram account. "It was by far one of the most memorable experiences of my life."
Under the Twitter handle @Pontifex, the 79-year-old uses eight other verified accounts to tweet. He tweets on a variety of topics, including the importance of prayer, environmentalism and world poverty.
The Pope has said in the past: "The internet could be used to build a society which is healthy and open to sharing. Social networks can facilitate relationships and promote the good of society, but they can also lead to further polarisation and division between individuals and groups."
In another popular move earlier this year, Pope Francis cleared the way for Mother Teresa's sainthood, citing the healing of a Brazilian man who had brain infection and a kidney disorder. A "medical" miracle is mandatory for the Catholic church to bestow sainthood on anyone.