Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was born in 1936. He became Bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992 and Archbishop six years later. He has often shunned the spotlight during his career, but that luxury disappeared the moment he stepped onto the balcony in St Peter’s Square.
The new pope is known as an intellectual and a theological conservative. He was a fierce opponent of his own country’s decision to legalise gay marriage in 2010.
Bergoglio is a Jesuit – the society within the Catholic Church known for its missionary work and engagement in education.
He carries a certain reputation for humility. The story goes that he asked NOT to be chosen when said to be in the running for pope last time round.
A strong supporter of helping the poor: when Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal in 2001 he apparently told his supporters not to waste money on travelling to Rome, but instead to donate the funds to alleviate poverty at home.
He is said to live a simple life, living in a simple flat and travelling by bus.
When he appeared before the huge crowd in Rome, Jorge Mario Bergoglio looked as surprised as anyone to have been chosen as the new pope. Far away in the cathedral in Buenos Aires, the announcement drew what was described as thunderous applause.