A plume of white smoke billowing from a chimney at the Vatican at about 7.05pm Central European Time on March 13 2013 signalled that the conclave of cardinals had elected a new Pope to succeed Benedict XVI.
Exultation burst out among the crowds of thousands from all over the world who had been waiting for many hours outside St Peter’s Basilica on the second day of voting in the selection of a new head of the Roman Catholic church.
Bells pealed as the throng cheered, waved flags of various nationalities and awaited the official announcement, “Habemus Papam” and the announcement of the name of the new Pope.
Benedict XVI announced his resignation on February 11 and it took effect on February 28. His successor will be the 266th Pope.