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More than 6.6 million people attended events with Pope Francis at the Vatican since he was elected in March to the end of 2013, compared to 2.3 million for former Pope Benedict in 2012. The Vatican said the figures were based on the number of tickets issued for even

Pope Francis waves as he delivers his first "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and world) message from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, on Dec. 25.OSSERVATORE ROMANO / Reuters file

ts where they are needed, but also on estimates of the number of people at events where tickets are not needed, such as the pope's weekly appearance from a window overlooking St. Peter's Square. 

Figures released on Jan. 4, 2013 showed that some 2.3 million people attended all events presided by Benedict in 2012.

Reuters contributed to this report.