Vatican City: Pope Francis yesterday met his predecessor Benedict XVI for the first time after his election as a pope.
The pontiff traveled to Castel Gandolfo to lunch with Benedict.
The two popes embraced on the helipad when Francis' helicopter arrived, Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said on Vatican Radio.
The two were dressed in white, with Pope Francis wearing a cape and sash to distinguish himself from Benedict, who wore a simple white cassock.
When the duo went to the chapel, Lombardi said Benedict offered Francis the traditional kneeler used by the pope, but Francis wanted the pair to kneel together on the same pew, saying, "We are brothers."
The private meeting lasted about 45 minutes, said Lombardi, who called it a "moment of profound and elevated communion."