Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation Monday, citing poor health and his declining age according to USA Today.
Benedict, 85, became Pope in 2005 and is the first Pope to resign in 600 years as leader of the 1 billion-member Catholic church.
Speaking in Latin, Benedict announced his resignation to a small gathering of cardinals at the Vatican of his decision.
The Pope’s abdication will go into effect Feb. 28 and a new Pope will be elected before March 31.
A meeting will be held for cardinals under 80 years old to elect the new pope. The vote has to come out to two-thirds of a consensus or a new Pope cannot be elected.
The first Pope to use social media, Benedict garnered a great deal of attention when he began using Twitter last year.