Pope Benedict XVI met Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro at the Vatican's embassy after an open-air mass in Havana's Revolutionary Square.

Although Fidel Castro was not present at the mass, he met the 84-year-old pontiff later for about half an hour. Castro was a one-time altar boy who was baptised by the Roman Catholic Church at the age of eight. However, the 85-year old revolutionary, gave up his faith in Christianity later to become an atheist.

During the meeting with Pope, Castro reportedly asked him about issues such as the changes in church teachings through the years and the various challenges facing humanity today. He also mentioned that he had dedicated his life to reflection and study.

The Pope, on the other hand, described the various changes made to the Liturgy and spoke of the importance of his current trip to Mexico and Cuba.

The Telegraph reported that the meeting began with some jokes about their ages. Castro is 85; Benedict reaches that milestone next month. "Yes, I'm old, but I can still do my job," Lombardi quoted the pontiff as saying.

Known for his Marxist-Leninist views, Castro led the 1959 revolution that transformed the Caribbean island into a communist state. He ruled the region for around 49 years until he eventually handed authority to his brother Raul in the year 2006.

Compared to the young revolutionary that led the 1959 movement, Castro looked frail and was helped out by two assistants from the green Mercedes SUV in which he arrived. The assistants also supported him as he walked slowly up the steps into the stately building where he met the Pope.

Start the slideshow to catch a glimpse of the Pope meeting Fidel Castro: