Thousands flock to the Vatican each week, and six million Filipinos joined him for a single mass earlier this year, but Pope Francis has also gained a significant online following – he's been named the most influential tweeter in the world.
A study of the Twitter accounts of world leaders by PR firm Burson Marsteller put Francis at the top for the third time running. With more than 19 million followers between his nine accounts, he's not the most popular (that title goes to Barack Obama, who has 58.6 million, though even he's beaten by Justin Bieber), but the pontiff's online musings spread the furthest.
Francis enjoys an average of 9,929 retweet per tweet from his Spanish account and 7,527 from his English one, compared to Obama's 1,210.
The pope's most popular tweet yet was sent during his trip to the Philippines in January.
Ang Pilipinas ay patunay ng kabataan at kasiglahan ng Simbahan.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 16, 2015
Retweeted over 90,000 times, the Pope urges his followers to strengthen and defend the family, "the foundation of society".
Other popular tweets from Francis include:
Having faith does not mean having no difficulties, but having the strength to face them, knowing we are not alone.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) February 6, 2015
True love does not pay attention to the evil it suffers. It rejoices in doing good.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 29, 2015
With Jesus there is true joy.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) December 25, 2014
When we meet a person truly in need, do we see the face of God?— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 22, 2014