Before departing the Vatican Thursday and resigning his position as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict also closed his Twitter account.
In his last tweet, dated February 28, he said: "Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the center of your lives."
Last December, Pope Benedict became the first Roman pontiff to open his own twitter account to reach out to believers. His English-language feed attracted more than one-and-a-half million followers.
The Vatican has archived the pope's tweets on its website under the name Pope Benedict XVI. His new official title after retirement is Pope Emeritus.
His twitter account has been renamed , to mean "vacant seat," until a conclave of cardinals elects a successor, who will decide if he wants to continue the practice.