The Man Who Shook Off Stereotypes: Pope Francis Turns 85

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Pope Francis celebrates his 85th birthday on 17 December, giving both his supporters and critics a chance to reflect on his papacy, which started in 2013.
Born as Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Argentina in 1936, he has had quite a diverse life: in his early years, he worked as a bouncer and a janitor before he began studying chemistry and working as a technician in a food science laboratory.
A serious illness prompted him to join the Jesuits society in 1958; he was ordained a Catholic priest in 1969.
Pope Francis is the first head of the Catholic Church from outside Europe since the 8th century, when Gregory III, a Syrian, was the pope.
Check out Sputnik's gallery to find out more.
© AP Photo / Koji Sasahara

Pope Francis smiles as he prepares to depart Japan at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo, on 26 November 2019.

Pope Francis smiles as he prepares to depart Japan at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo, on 26 November 2019. - Sputnik International
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Pope Francis smiles as he prepares to depart Japan at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo, on 26 November 2019.

© AP Photo / Manish SwarupPriests, religious seminarians and Catechists touch the hands of Pope Francis as he leaves after meeting them at Saint Peter's Parish on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, 22 November 2019.
Priests, religious seminarians and Catechists touch the hands of Pope Francis as he leaves after meeting them at Saint Peter's Parish on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, 22 November 2019. - Sputnik International
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Priests, religious seminarians and Catechists touch the hands of Pope Francis as he leaves after meeting them at Saint Peter's Parish on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, 22 November 2019.
© AFP 2022 / Courtesy Sergio Rubin/Clarin

In this undated picture courtesy of Argentine journalist Sergio Rubin, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio celebrates the holy mass in an undetermined church. Bergoglio was elected Pope Francis on 13 March 2013, making him the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.

In this undated picture courtesy of Argentine journalist Sergio Rubin, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio celebrates the holy mass in an undetermined church. Bergoglio was elected Pope Francis on 13 March 2013, making him the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. - Sputnik International
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In this undated picture courtesy of Argentine journalist Sergio Rubin, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio celebrates the holy mass in an undetermined church. Bergoglio was elected Pope Francis on 13 March 2013, making him the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.

© REUTERS / Guglielmo Mangiapane

Pope Francis walks past soldiers holding flags of the Vatican and Cyprus at Larnaca International Airport while arriving for his visit to Cyprus and Greece, in Larnaca, Cyprus, on 2 December 2021.

Pope Francis walks past soldiers holding flags of the Vatican and Cyprus at Larnaca International Airport while arriving for his visit to Cyprus and Greece, in Larnaca, Cyprus, on 2 December 2021. - Sputnik International
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Pope Francis walks past soldiers holding flags of the Vatican and Cyprus at Larnaca International Airport while arriving for his visit to Cyprus and Greece, in Larnaca, Cyprus, on 2 December 2021.

© AFP 2022 / Parroquia Virgen de Caacupe

This handout picture released by Virgen De Caacupe Paris church on 20 March 2008 shows the then archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, washing the feet of drug addicts during the ceremonial opening of the Hogar de Cristo (Christ's Home) a rehabilitation centre for addicts in a shantytown of Buenos Aires.

This handout picture released by Virgen De Caacupe Paris church on 20 March 2008 shows the then archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, washing the feet of drug addicts during the ceremonial opening of the Hogar de Cristo (Christ's Home) a rehabilitation centre for addicts in a shantytown of Buenos Aires. - Sputnik International
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This handout picture released by Virgen De Caacupe Paris church on 20 March 2008 shows the then archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, washing the feet of drug addicts during the ceremonial opening of the Hogar de Cristo (Christ's Home) a rehabilitation centre for addicts in a shantytown of Buenos Aires.

© AP Photo / Alessandra Tarantino

The faithful wave palm leaves as Pope Francis arrives to celebrate Mass at the monument Mary Queen of Peace, in Port Louis, Mauritius, Monday, on 9 September 2019.

The faithful wave palm leaves as Pope Francis arrives to celebrate Mass at the monument Mary Queen of Peace, in Port Louis, Mauritius, Monday, on 9 September 2019. - Sputnik International
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The faithful wave palm leaves as Pope Francis arrives to celebrate Mass at the monument Mary Queen of Peace, in Port Louis, Mauritius, Monday, on 9 September 2019.

© AP Photo / Gregorio BorgiaIn this December 21, 2020 file photo, Pope Francis cuddles a baby as he exchanges holiday greetings with Vatican employees in the Paul VI hall.
In this December 21, 2020 file photo, Pope Francis cuddles a baby as he exchanges holiday greetings with Vatican employees in the Paul VI hall. - Sputnik International
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In this December 21, 2020 file photo, Pope Francis cuddles a baby as he exchanges holiday greetings with Vatican employees in the Paul VI hall.
© AP Photo / Remo CasilliPope Francis celebrates Holy Mass for the community of the faithful of Myanmar residents in Rome, at the Vatican, Sunday, on 16 May 2021.
Pope Francis celebrates Holy Mass for the community of the faithful of Myanmar residents in Rome, at the Vatican, Sunday, on 16 May 2021. - Sputnik International
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Pope Francis celebrates Holy Mass for the community of the faithful of Myanmar residents in Rome, at the Vatican, Sunday, on 16 May 2021.
© Sputnik / Servizio Fotografico Vaticano / Go to the mediabankPope Francis holds a Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, 18 May 2020.
Pope Francis holds a Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, 18 May 2020. - Sputnik International
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Pope Francis holds a Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, 18 May 2020.
© AFP 2022 / Sergio Rubin / CLARINIn this undated picture courtesy of Argentine journalist Sergio Rubin, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (R) travels by subway in Buenos Aires.
In this undated picture courtesy of Argentine journalist Sergio Rubin, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (R) travels by subway in Buenos Aires.  - Sputnik International
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In this undated picture courtesy of Argentine journalist Sergio Rubin, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (R) travels by subway in Buenos Aires.
© Giuseppe Cacace Pope Francis leads his first Angelus prayer from the window of the apartments (top-R) at St Peter's Square on 17 March 2013 at the Vatican.
Pope Francis leads his first Angelus prayer from the window of the apartments (top-R) at St Peter's Square on 17 March 2013 at the Vatican. - Sputnik International
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Pope Francis leads his first Angelus prayer from the window of the apartments (top-R) at St Peter's Square on 17 March 2013 at the Vatican.
© AP Photo / Andrew Medichini

Pope Francis blows a candle on a birthday cake he was offered by children assisted by Santa Marta dispensary during an audience in the Paul VI Hall, at the Vatican, Sunday, 22 December 2019.

Pope Francis blows a candle on a birthday cake he was offered by children assisted by Santa Marta dispensary during an audience in the Paul VI Hall, at the Vatican, Sunday, 22 December 2019.  - Sputnik International
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Pope Francis blows a candle on a birthday cake he was offered by children assisted by Santa Marta dispensary during an audience in the Paul VI Hall, at the Vatican, Sunday, 22 December 2019.

© Sputnik / Alexey Druzhinin  / Go to the mediabankRussian President Vladimir Putin and Pope Francis exchange gifts at the Vatican Apostolic Library, 4 July 2019.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pope Francis exchange gifts at the Vatican Apostolic Library, 4 July 2019. - Sputnik International
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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pope Francis exchange gifts at the Vatican Apostolic Library, 4 July 2019.
© AP Photo / Alessandra TarantinoPope Francis frees a dove during his weekly general audience in St. Peter Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, on 15 May 2013.
Pope Francis frees a dove during his weekly general audience in St. Peter Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, on 15 May 2013.  - Sputnik International
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Pope Francis frees a dove during his weekly general audience in St. Peter Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, on 15 May 2013.
© AFP 2022 / Aris Messinis

A gust of wind blows the cassock of Pope Francis as he boards a plane at Athens International Airport in Greece, on 6 December 2021.

A gust of wind blows the cassock of Pope Francis as he boards a plane at Athens International Airport in Greece, on 6 December 2021. - Sputnik International
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A gust of wind blows the cassock of Pope Francis as he boards a plane at Athens International Airport in Greece, on 6 December 2021.

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