Official photograph of Pope Francis

This is the official photograph of Pope Francis released today by the Vatican.

The picture captures his understated style with the Pope wearing the iron crucifix he has chosen to wear in place of a gold one.

The crucifix features the image of Jesus as the "good shepherd" carrying a sheep on his shoulders and the flock following behind him.

Pope Francis has quickly earned a reputation as a man of modesty and close affinity with the poor.

Rather than wearing the traditional solid gold ring, he has insisted on wearing one made of silver.

He was inaugurated last week as the successor to Benedict XVI, who stepped down as Pope last month because he felt he no longer had the strength required to carry out the demanding role.