The Pope

Profile of Pope Francis

Pope Francis (Latin: Franciscus; born Jorge Mario Bergoglio[a] on 17 December 1936) is the 266th and current pope of the Catholic Church, elected on 13 March 2013. As such, he is both head of the Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City State.

A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, he was ordained as a priest in 1969. He served as head of the Society of Jesus in Argentina from 1973 to 1979. In 1998 he became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and in 2001 a cardinal.

Following the resignation of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, on 28 February 2013, the conclave elected Bergoglio, who chose the papal name Franciscus in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi. He is the first Pope to come from the Americas, to come from the Southern Hemisphere and the first Jesuit to be Pope. Francis is the first non-European pope in 1,272 years, since the Syrian, St. Gregory III. He is also the first pope to be a member of a Catholic religious order since Pope Gregory XVI, who died in 1846.