popular | Religion

10 Facts About Pope Francis That Are Holier Than Thou

MAX ROSSI/REUTERS

Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Pope Francis is arguably one of the most well-known public figures in the world. The epitome of all things good and holy, how much do you actually know about the leader of the Catholic Church, aside from his hearty grins and simplistic lifestyle?

In honor of Pope Francis's 81st birthday on Dec. 13, here are 10 surprising facts about the divine man himself.

1. Pope Francis is the first pontiff to be elected from South America

He is the first to be elected pope from outside Europe since Gregory III was elected in 731, and is also the first Jesuit to behold the title.

2. He is the first pope to go by the name Francis

The pope chose Francis to honor St. Francis of Assisi, who was "the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation."

3. Before the papacy, the pope worked at a nightclub

He worked as a bouncer in Buenos Aires bar to earn money as a student.

4.  Pope Francis speaks eight languages

He speaks Spanish, Latin and Italian fluently, and has an understanding of German, French, Portuguese, English, and Ukrainian.

5. He has a Master's degree

He studied philosophy at the Pontifical Catholic University of Buenos Aires and also has a master's degree in Chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires.

6. Pope Francis always lived a modest life

When the pope was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he lived in a tiny apartment, took the bus, and when he traveled to the conclave in Rome, he sat in economy class.

7. He was the runner-up for pope in 2005.

It has been claimed Pope Francis was the victim of a smear campaign by fellow members of the Jesuit order, who reportedly said he never smiled.

8. The pope only has a single lung

After an infection, Pope Francis had to have one of his lungs removed when he was a teenager. The Vatican was weary about his health when he was first elected, but their fears have since been dismissed.

9 Pope Francis once had a girlfriend

"She was one of a group of friends with whom I used to go dancing with," he said. "Then I discovered my religious vocation."

10. He loves dancing, specifically the tango

For the pope's 78th birthday, hundreds performed a flash mob of the tango outside of the Vatican.

He is quoted to have said, “I love the tango a lot. It is something that comes from inside me.”

Do you know any other facts about Pope Francis?

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