Pope Francis’ Instagram account, @franciscus, reached 1M followers faster than any account in history, and now, after 20 weeks and 143 posts, it’s at more than 3M followers.
The account was launched March 19, feast of St. Joseph, shortly after the co-founder and CEO of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, visited the Holy Father in the Vatican.
The American entrepreneur gave the Holy Father a book with 10 Instagram images from different parts of the world, among them, one showing the effects of climate change at the North Pole, another showing the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, and one showing the exodus and drama of migrants who flee the Middle East.
After the meeting, Systrom posted at his Instagram site: “Today I had the honor of meeting Pope Francis. We spoke about the power of images to unite people across different cultures and languages. It was by far one of the most memorable experiences of my life!”
Unlike the Pope’s Twitter account, which goes out in nine languages, there is only one official Instagram account. Each post, though, is subtitled in numerous languages.
Speaking at the launch of the Pope’s account earlier this year, the Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, Monsignor Dario Viganò said the decision to open an Instagram account arises from the Pope’s conviction that pictures can reveal many things that words can’t, Vatican Radio noted.
The aim of this papal Instagram account, he said, is to tell the story of the pontificate of Pope Francis through images.