Rome - Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 77, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected the new pope on Wednesday on the second day of secret ballots in the cardinals' conclave held in the Vatican City.
White smoke out of the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel and the sound of church bells announced at 7:06pm local time (1806 GMT) that Bergoglio was the new pope in front of thousands of believers and international journalists who were waiting for the news at St Peter square.
The name he chose as the new pope was Francis I. He is the first Jesuit to become pope.
Pope Francis made a phone call to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI right after his election, said Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi. He said His Holiness will pay a visit to the Pope Emeritus in the next few days.
Pope Francis I has also disclosed his schedule for the next four days. He is to hold mass on Thursday afternoon in the Sistine Chapel; meet with cardinals in the Clementine Hall at 11am on Friday; meet the press at 11am on Saturday in the Paul VI Hall and deliver the Angelus prayer on Sunday.
Father Lombardi further announced that the mass for the inauguration of the new papacy will be held on Tuesday morning.
A member of the Jesuits, and ordained in 1936, after four years as priest Bergoglio became head of all the Jesuits in Argentina.
After studying in Germany, he became bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992 and archbishop in 1998. A strong supporter of helping the poor, Bergoglio was made cardinal in 2001.
The secret conclave began on Tuesday night with a first ballot and four ballots were held on Wednesday. Francis obtained the required two thirds majority in the fifth ballot.
The pope emeritus renounced office at the end of last month after surprising the world by announcing that he no longer had the mental and physical strengths to continue papacy. - SAnews.gov.za-Xinhua-AGI