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07/11/2013 04:47 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Pope Francis Compassionately Embraces Severely Disfigured Man (PICTURES)

Pope Francis has lived up to his illustrious namesake, St Francis of Assisi - a revered 13th century holy figure, who according to legend kissed a leper he had encountered on a road after receiving a message from God.

Showcasing his compassionate nature, the pontiff has been pictured tenderly comforting a sick man by kissing him on the head.

pope boils

Pope Francis (R) caresses a sick person in Saint Peter's Square at the end of his General Audience in Vatican City, 06 November 2013.

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The man, covered in neuronal tumors, approached the leader of the Catholic Church asking for a blessing following the pope's weekly public audience.

The poignant images show the Pope gently laying his hands on the sick man's head and praying.

pope boils

Pope Francis (R) hugs a sick person in Saint Peter's Square at the end of his General Audience in Vatican City, 06 November 2013.

The man reportedly suffers from a rare and painful disease called neurofibromatosis, which causes boils, impaired vision and in some cases cancer, according to the Catholic News Agency.

People with this disease – which is genetic and not contagious – often face discrimination because of their appearance.

Pope Francis tweeted earlier this year, "The Pope must serve all people, especially the poor, the weak, the vulnerable." The photos really speak for themselves with regards to his genuine concern for humanity.

The touching images have gone viral on the web, with many praising the pontiff for his compassion.

"I'm an atheist, but the more I hear about Pope Francis, the more I like him," Donna Hosie tweeted.