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Pope Francis Makes Dignified Debut On Instagram

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 19/03/2016 Lee Moran

Welcome to Instagram, Pope Francis!

The pontiff made his debut on the picture sharing social network on Saturday.

He shared this image of himself deep in prayer, accompanied by the phrase "pray for me" in nine different languages:

Within an hour, it had garnered more than 25,000 likes -- and his @Franciscus account had gained 178,000 followers.

That number is sure to grow, however. Pope Francis is already a keen tweeter, and his @Pontifex account in English has more than 8.8 million followers. In total, his Twitter accounts in nine languages have 25 million fans.

He told his Twitter followers about his foray into the Facebook-owned image sharing network an hour before making the post:

Instagram founder Kevin Systrom was alongside Pope Francis, 79, at the Vatican's Casa Santa Marta when he made Saturday's historic post.

The moment was also marked via Instagram's official account:

Systrom described on his own personal account that watching Pope Francis posting his first photograph to the service was "an incredible moment." "Your messages of humility, compassion and mercy will leave a lasting mark."

While it's exciting to think of Pope Francis sat hunched over his cell phone 'gramming snaps from his daily life, the New York Times reports that he doesn't compose his own Twitter posts -- and likely won't be doing so on Instagram.

Instead, the Vatican's social media department will take care of business on his behalf.

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