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Pope Francis: His pontificate in numbers


VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Here are some statistics about Pope Francis, 86, who went to hospital on Wednesday for surgery on his abdomen.


The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope on March 13, 2013. He was the 266th pope and the first from Latin America. He was the first pontiff to take the name Francis.


Francis has reigned longer than the 7.5 years average length of the previous 265 pontificates. He is also one of history’s oldest popes. The last sitting pontiff to have lived longer was Leo XIII who was 93 when he died in 1903. Before him, you would have to go back to Clement XII, who was 87 when he died in 1740.

Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, died at the age of 95, but was 85 when he retired as pope.


There are currently 222 cardinals, the red-hatted “princes of the Church”, who advise the pope, run major dioceses around the world and often lead powerful departments within the Vatican bureaucracy.

Currently, 121 cardinals are aged under 80 and thus eligible under Church law to enter a conclave to elect a pope after Francis dies or retires. They are known as cardinal electors and Francis has appointed 81 of them. The other electors were appointed by his predecessors.


Francis has so far visited 60 states and territories, clocking up almost 410,000 km (255,000 miles).

He visited Brazil, Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, Israel, South Korea, Albania, France, Turkey, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Cuba, the United States, Kenya, Uganda, Central African Republic, Mexico, Greece, Armenia, Poland, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Sweden, Egypt, Portugal, Colombia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Chile, Peru, Switzerland, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Panama, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Romania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius, Thailand, Japan, Iraq, Hungary, Slovakia, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Canada, Kazakhstan, Bahrain, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

He made 35 trips in Italy, starting with the island of Lampedusa, a landing point for migrants crossing the Mediterranean en route to Europe, in July 2013.

He left the Vatican nearly 150 times for visits and events inside Rome, his diocese.


Francis created about 900 new saints, including his predecessors John XXIII, John Paul II and Paul IV, as well as Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was killed in 1980.

The figure includes the Martyrs of Otranto, residents of a southern Italian city slain by Ottoman troops in 1480. The Vatican says they numbered about 800.

He beatified 1,355 people. Beatification is the last step before sainthood.


An encyclical is the most important form of papal document.

Francis wrote three, starting in 2013 with “Lumen Fidei” (Light of Faith) on the importance of Christian faith, partly written by his predecessor Pope Benedict.

In 2015, he released “Laudato Si” (Praised Be), which called for urgent action on climate change, while 2020’s Fratelli Tutti (Brothers All) tackled the issue of solidarity among people in the post-pandemic world.

He also wrote 11 other major documents, such as Apostolic Constitutions and Apostolic Exhortations.

(Reporting by Alvise Armellini, Philip Pullella and Crispian Balmer; Editing by Frances Kerry and Janet Lawrence)

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