orders to feed the Church by the word and grace. 127 128 The first persons honored as saints were the martyrs. Both of these doctrines were defined as infallible dogma, by Pope Pius IX in 1854 and Pope Pius XII in 1950 respectively, 137 but only after consulting with the Catholic bishops throughout the world to ascertain that this is a Catholic belief. Retrieved "Vatican World Mission Day: Catholic Church Statistics 2015". These include churches that historically developed in Russia, Caucasus, the Balkans, North Eastern Africa, India and the Middle East. Had the Roman Church been merely founded by Peter and not reckoned him as its first bishop, there could have been no ground for such a contention. 389 Pope Francis Main article: Pope Francis Pope Francis, the current pope of the Catholic Church, succeeded Pope Benedict XVI in 2013 as the first pope from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first Pope from outside Europe since the Syrian.