When Jesus said, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation,’ he probably wasn’t thinking about putting the Clarendon filter over a carefully posed selfie.

But times change – and the Pope is set to take on Justin Bieber head-to-head on Instagram, under the handle Franciscus.

Pope Francis will make his Instagram debut on Saturday, joining the likes of Justin Bieber and Cristiano Ronaldo on the image-sharing forum under the handle Franciscus, the Vatican confirmed Wednesday.

The date for the pontiff’s debut on the celebrity-dominated social medium was chosen by the 79-year-old himself as it marks the third anniversary of his inauguration as the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

The move represents the latest plank of a Vatican social media strategy designed to ensure Francis’s message reaches a maximum number of believers and non-believers across the world with particular focus on the younger generation.

Francis is already a major player on Twitter.

Under the @Pontifex handle he tweets in nine languages, including Latin, with the English account followed by nearly nine million people and the Spanish one by more than 11 million.

The move to join Instagram has been anticipated for some time as it is now bigger and faster-growing than Twitter with some 400 million users worldwide.

Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s CEO and co-founder, met the pontiff at the Vatican last month, later revealing they had discussed ‘the power of images to unite people across different cultures and languages.’

In a post on his own Instagram account, Systrom also said: ‘It was by far one of the most memorable experiences of my life.