Pope Francis Joins Instagram, Gains 157,000 Followers In One Hour

The pope joined Instagram under the @franciscus Instagram handle and within one hour, the verified account of Pope Francis gained more than 157,000 followers. Within five hours, the number of Pope Francis' Instagram followers had swelled to more than 634,000 followers.

"I want to walk with you along the way of God's mercy and tenderness." (Official Account. Copyright L'Osservatore Romano.)
With two Instagram posts and more than 634,000 Instagram followers as of this writing, Pope Francis isn't following anyone else on Instagram right now. The first photo posted to the Pope Francis account showed the pope praying. It was an appropriate caption that accompanied the pontiff's initial Instagram image on his account, because it showed Pope Francis praying, and a description that asked his Instagram followers to pray for him, in a variety of languages.

With more than 100,000 likes, the very franciscus received more than 13,000 comments to the response requesting prayer for Pope Francis.

"Pray for me

Rezad por mí

Pregate per me

صلوا من أجلي

Priez pour moi

Módlcie się za mnie

Rezem por mim

Betet für mich

Orate pro me"

The fact that the 79-year-old Pope Francis joined Instagram created quite a buzz, as reported by Today. The publication noted that the pontiff's presence on Saturday, March 19, even brought the attention of Instagram CEO's and co-founder.

Kevin Systrom posted a photo of himself shaking hands with the pope with a description that proved Kevin was there, watching Pope Francis post his first Instagram photo.

As Kevin watched Pope Francis join the hugely popular social media platform that is Instagram, the "incredible moment" came in the wake of the pope already being a very popular staple on Twitter. Even though the @Pontifex Twitter account was originally created in 2012 by Pope Benedict, and is called the official Twitter account of Pope Francis now, the Instagram account @Fraciscus is clearly Pope Francis' own. Kevin's photo is tagged with the location of Vatican City, Italy.
The pope tweeted on Twitter that he is embarking on a new journey via Instagram. Just like on his Twitter account, Pope Francis is already posting inspirational messages on Instagram.Pope Francis has been known as a unique pope, and is already receiving funny comments on Instagram on his photos, along with plenty of attention. The pope's second photo has already received more than 52,000 likes within the hour that the second photo was uploaded to Instagram.
"When your hat game on point."
That second photo -- also posted to Instagram on Saturday, March 19 -- didn't contain a description. Pope Francis is simply seen with his head down once again, against a cross. That Instagram photo on the @franciscus account has received nearly 3,000 comments. Franciscus is the name of Pope Francis in Latin.On Facebook, the reaction to Pope Francis joining Instagram shows folks believe the pope is pretty hip and in tune with the times by joining Instagram. The day before Palm Sunday -- and the week prior to Resurrection Sunday -- seemed like the perfect time for Pope Francis to join Instagram.
"Just in time for Holy Week, he posted ‪#‎prayforme‬"

"Now when Mark personally invites you to Facebook.. you know you made it lmbo! ‪#‎RespectToWhomitsDue‬"

"The Pope on Instagram! How very cool!!!"

"Pope Francis has once again elevated his status as Hippest Pontiff Ever by joining Instagram."

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon had a truly funny response to the pope joining Instagram, by posting a Facebook photo about the event.
"Thank you, Pope Francis, for joining Instagram and being the one person who can rightfully caption his photos with '‪#‎Blessed‬'."
[L'Osservatore Romano/ANSA via AP]