2014 was a busy year for Pope Francis. In between general audiences and church events, Pope Francis stepped into his role as global peace-maker and made a major impact in several key regions around the globe.
With the release of American Alan Gross' from Cuba spread, Pope Francis' role in facilitating a deal between the two countries became apparent as a key element to the story. In May the pontiff traveled to the Middle East to visit some of the holiest sites in Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths -- a trip that many saw as a hopeful reset in Christian-Muslim relations. And in November, Pope Francis prayed alongside the Grand Mufti of Istanbul, Rahmi Yaran, during his trip to Turkey and later, in a crucial moment of conciliation with the Orthodox Church, the pope bowed to and asked for a blessing from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.
Take a look at some of Pope Francis' most iconic photos from 2014: