Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi meet Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, for the first time at the Vatican on October 30, 2021.
Although the meeting was scheduled for only 20 minutes, it went on for nearly an hour.
'Had a very warm meeting with Pope Francis. I had the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues with him and also invited him to visit India, Modi tweeted .
Please click on the images below for a better look at Modi's meeting with Papa Francis.
IMAGE: A day after he met Joe Biden only the second Catholic to be elected United States president at the Vatican, the pope had an unusual visitor -- the prime minister of a country what The New York Times noted was 'home to one of Asia's oldest and largest Christian populations.' All photographs: PTI Photo
IMAGE: During his meeting, Modi invited the Pope to visit India.
The last time a pope visited India was 22 years ago almost to the day when Pope John Paul II arrived in New Delhi when another Bharatiya Janata party-led government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee was in power.
Pope Paul VI had visited India for the Eucharistic Congress in 1964.
IMAGE: Pope Francis is a remarkably austere papal figure, eschewing the traditional trappings of his office -- like, for instance, 'choosing to reside in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse rather than in the papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace used by previous popes' or wearing the red Prada shoes previous popes fancied, preferring instead the weatherbeaten leather shoes he has always worn -- and staying true to the life he had chosen when he joined the Catholic church in his native Argentina.
Pope Francis is the first pope from the Americas and the first pope from outside Europe, as Wikipedia informs us, since Gregory III, a Syrian who reigned in the 8th century.
'Throughout his public life,' Wikipedia notes, 'Francis has been noted for his humility, emphasis on God's mercy, international visibility as pope, concern for the poor and commitment to interreligious dialogue.'
IMAGE: The Catholic church's conservative cardinals and theologians are bitterly opposed to Pope Francis's teachings, which seemed to be grounded in the need for humanity and the need to stay relevant in the 21st century.
Wikipedia notes 'four cardinals (Raymond Leo Burke, Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner) formally asked the pope for clarifications, particularly on the issue of giving communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.'
The pope has not yet replied
Pope Francis is the only pope to have another pope alive during his tenure -- it was after the rigidly conservative Pope Benedict stepped down on grounds of ill health that an election was held to determine his successor which the popular archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, won on March 13, 2013.