Pope Francis Now Has 10 Million Twitter Fanbase

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | October 28, 2013 2:09 PM EST

Pope Francis smiles as he leads a special audience with families at the St Peter Square in Vatican October 26, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi (VATICAN - Tags: RELIGION)

Pope Francis' fan base on online social networking and microblogging service Twitter has reached 10 million.

On Sunday, Pope Francis, the 266th spiritual leader of the Catholic church, posted a message of Twitter, thanking his followers for the milestone.

Vatican explained the 10 million mark was reached after adding up all the followers' stats of his @pontifex handles, which based from a quick search on Twitter, yields at least 10 in various languages, including:

@pontifex in Spanish was the most read handle at four million followers. Second was @pontifex in English with 3.1 million, then @pontifex in Italian, 1.4 million followers.

The Roman Catholic church's first non-European pope in 1,300 years, Pope Francis has managed to triple the @pontifex's number of followers on Twitter since rising to the position in March 2013 as successor to Benedict XVI.

Benedict XVI started the papal Twitter feed in December 2012. His first tweet was,  "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart."

At the time of his abdication, Benedict XVI left the handle with 3 million followers.

Vatican has learned to keep up with technological advancements if only to be able to reach out to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics and spread the faith.

Apart from Twitter, Pope Francis is also on Instagram, joining the photo-sharing network early October 2013. In just three weeks, the handle has had 9,000 followers.

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