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Pope Francis posts first picture on Instagram

"I want to walk with you along the way of God's mercy and tenderness," Pope Francis wrote on Instagram under the account name franciscus.

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis posted his first photo on Instagram on Saturday, a picture showing him kneeling down praying, on the third anniversary of his inauguration as Holy Father.

"I want to walk with you along the way of God's mercy and tenderness," he wrote on the photo-sharing platform, under the account name franciscus.

"Instagram will help to tell the story of a papacy, letting everyone who wants to come along and get to know the papacy of Pope Francis," said Vatican communications chief Dario Vigano.

Photos from Vatican daily the Osservatore Romano will be posted, as well as brief videos, "to try to show details which demonstrate .. aspects of intimacy and inclusion which Pope Francis lives every day," he said.

Pope Francis met Instagram chief and founder Kevin Systrom at the Vatican last month. Instagram, which was acquired by social media giant Facebook in 2012, had over 400 million users as of the end of February.

“Watching Pope Francis post his first photo to Instagram today was an incredible moment. @franciscus, welcome to the Instagram community! Your messages of humility, compassion and mercy will leave a lasting mark,” Mr Systrom posted on Instagram.

Meanwhile, Facebook's CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post: "Welcome to Instagram, Pope Francis! No matter what faith you practice, we can all be inspired by Pope Francis’s humility and compassion."

Welcome to Instagram, Pope Francis! No matter what faith you practice, we can all be inspired by Pope Francis’s humility...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Saturday, 19 March 2016

The pope has some 30 million followers in nine languages on Twitter, which he joined in 2012 under the handle @pontifex -- the word "pope" in Latin.