Cape Town – Pope Benedict XVI blessed his hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers in 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," he said in his first tweet.
Since the pope last week announced he would start tweeting under the name @pontifex, around 625 000 people have registered to follow his main account, in English.
Tens of thousands more are following his Arabic, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish accounts.
The 140-character messages will not be written by the pope himself, but by Vatican officials who will submit them to him for approval.