Pope Francis had lunch Saturday with his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in what the Vatican said was the first such encounter in the history of the Roman Catholic Church.
Francis, who was inaugurated as the new head of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics on Tuesday, has made some changes since taking the helm -- most notably by adopting a simpler, personal style and calling for the church to focus on serving the poor and needy.
The new pontiff was flown to Castel Gandolfo by helicopter for the lunch date.
He was greeted at the helipad by Benedict XVI, and the pair exchanged an embrace, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said. They then rode in a car together to the Castel Gandolfo residence.
Both men wore simple white cassocks, but only Francis wore the white papal mantle and sash over his robe.
The two then prayed together side-by-side in a chapel before meeting in a library at the residence for 45 minutes of talks ahead of lunch.
Video footage released by the Vatican after Francis had returned to Vatican City showed the two men warmly clasping hands as they greeted each other.
Benedict, who walked with the aid of a stick, looked frail and moved slowly as they entered the chapel to kneel together.
Relations between Francis and his predecessor were warm and cordial, said Lombardi. Francis presented Benedict with the gift of a painting he said reminded him of the former pontiff's gifts to the church.
Their meeting was "a moment of profound and elevated communion," Lombardi told Vatican Radio.
He suggested that Benedict would almost certainly have repeated the promise of obedience to the new pope that he gave in his final meeting with the cardinals before stepping down.
The presence of both a pope and a living former pontiff has raised concerns over the potential for split loyalties within the church.
Seen, but not heard
Lombardi declined to tell reporters what the pair discussed in the library, saying only that they were private talks.
Vatican observers believe that one item on the agenda was the contents of a 300-page dossier presented by three cardinals to Benedict in the wake of the Vatileaks scandal.
Benedict passed on the report -- ordered after leaks last year revealed claims of corruption within the Vatican hierarchy -- to his successor.
Italian media reports suggested the cardinals had uncovered a series of scandals involving sex, money and power, but the Vatican press office sought to tamp down what it called a rash of "often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories."
The pair may also have talked about possible appointments by Francis. The people he chooses to hold key roles may give an indication of his priorities for the church at a time when some are calling for reform and modernization of its hierarchy.
They have spoken several times by telephone since Francis was elected 10 days ago, but this was their first face-to-face meeting, the Vatican said.
Crowds who had gathered in the small town's central square waved and clapped as the white papal helicopter twice passed overhead before landing. Some chanted "Francesco, Francesco" -- the pope's name in Italian.
According to police at Castel Gandolfo, the crowds numbered between 1,500 and 2,000.
Many had gathered in the hope of seeing Francis appear at a balcony to wave, but they were disappointed.
Life of seclusion
Francis was elected on March 13 after Benedict became the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign, citing age and frailty. A new pope usually takes the reins only following the death of his predecessor.
The hilltop castle overlooking a lake is the summer papal residence and has been home to Benedict since he left Vatican City on February 28.