Pope Francis has tweeted for the first time since he was elected last Wednesday:
Dear friends, I thank you from my heart and I ask you to continue to pray for me. Pope Francis.
The tweet was retweeted some 7,000 times in its first half hour of existence.
The same @Pontifex account was used to declare that a new pope had been elected with the words "HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM," although this has now been deleted.
Pope Benedict XVI, his predecessor, used the same account for his first tweet: "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart."