Pope Francis has been named as Person of the Year for 2013 by Time magazine

Runner-up was NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Edie Windsor, the woman at the centre of the pro-gay legal fight to overturn the Defence of Marriage Act, came third.

Designed to represent the most influential person of the year - good or bad - the award's previous winners has included Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and The Protester in 2011.

The First Jesuit Pope, the Argentine Bergoglio has condemned the "cult of money" and blamed it for causing growing inequalities across the world.

Bergoglio, 76, who succeeded Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in March, took the name of Francis from St Francis of Assisi, saying that the founder of the Franciscan Order's devotion to the poor should work as an example for the whole Catholic Church from the top down.

Time managing editor Nancy Gibbs said that in less than a year Pope Francis "has not changed the words, but he's changed the music".

Listing a series of symbolic gestures - from the use of a simple iron cross around his neck to the release of information on controversial Vatican finances for the first time, Gibbs highlights the Pope's focus on compassion as well as an aura of merriment that makes him "something of a rock star".

"At a time when the limits of leadership are being tested in so many places, along comes a man with no army or weapons, no kingdom beyond a tight fist of land in the middle of Rome but with the immense wealth and weight of history behind him, to throw down a challenge," said Time managing editor Nancy Gibbs.

"When he kisses the face of a disfigured man or washes the feet of a Muslim woman, the image resonates far beyond the boundaries of the Catholic Church."

The magazine also ran an exclusive interview with Edward Snowden, the 30-year-old computer expert who leaked thousands of the top secret US documents and shed light on the National Security Agency secret surveillance methods in America and abroad.

"The NSA is surely not the Stasi," Snowden said, in reference to the notorious East German security service, "but we should always remember that the danger to ­societies from security services is not that they will spontaneously decide to embrace moustache-twirling and jackboots to bear us bodily into dark places, but that the slowly shifting foundation of policy will make it such that moustaches and jackboots are discovered to prove an operational advantage towards a necessary purpose."