The Vatican has elected its 265th pope – and the first one to come from the emerging market nations of Latin America.
According to news reports, the Argentinian – Jorge Bergoglio – is also the first Jesuit to be elected to the papacy, and he will become Pope Francis I, named for St Francis of Assisi.
His election comes after weeks of discussions and abortive attempts to elect a Pope ahead of the forthcoming Easter celebrations.
In a statement, the Vatican said the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires was elected pontiff on the fifth ballot.
He is 76 and will soon become the focal point for 1.2 billion Catholics around the world as he takes over from outgoing incumbent Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned last month.
He will be the leader of a huge religious organisation dedicated to replacing the gospel of grace, centring on justification by faith in Christ, with a false gospel of justification by works.