The wait for nearly one million Twitter followers was over Wednesday as His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI posted his very first personal tweet to his legion of fans.

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"Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart," wrote the pontiff, 85, Dec. 12 using the handle @Pontifex, which means "bridge builder" in Latin.

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Quickly garnering nearly one million followers in the eight languages of his account, Pope Benedict XVI later offered additional words of encouragement. "We can be certain that a believer is never alone. God is the solid rock upon which we build our lives and his love is always faithful," he tweeted.

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A Vatican official confirmed to CNN that the religious leader indeed posted his first tweet on his own, though others close to him are expected to circulate future tweets on his behalf.

This article originally appeared on Pope Benedict XVI Tweets First Message, Blessing to Fans