Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church has been named "Person of the Year" by Time Magazine. The famed magazine made their announcement on Wednesday with Francis beating out President Obama, NSA leaker Edward Snowden and Texas Senator Ted Cruz as well as seven others for the honor. Time Magazine awarded the Pope the title saying he changed the way the 2,000-year-old institution is viewed by the world in only a few short months. The newsmagazine has awarded the "Person of the Year" title every year since 1927.

Other contenders for the "Person of the Year" award included the President of Syria Bashar Assad, the founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos, singer Miley Cyrus, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and gay right's activist Edith Windsor. In their announcement Time Magazine said, "For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world's largest church to confronting its deepest needs, and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is Time Magazine's 'Person of the Year.'"

"What makes this pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church," Time wrote in their cover story. "He really stood out to us as someone who has changed the tone and the perception and the focus of one of the world's largest institutions in an extraordinary way," Nancy Gibbs, Time Magazine's managing editor said to the Associated Press. In a statement the Vatican said the honor was not a surprise given how popular the Pope has become since his election in March.

"The Holy Father is not looking to become famous or to receive honors," said Rev. Frederico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman to the AP. "But if the choice of "Person of the Year" helps spread the message of the Gospel - a message of God's love for everyone - he will certainly be happy about that." This was the third time a pope has been named "Person of the Year." In 1994 the late Pope John Paul II was given the honor and in 1962 Pope John XXIII was named.

More From Latin Times

Pope Francis To Combat Child Sex Abuse In Catholic Church With Special Committee

 Pope Francis Denounces 'New Tyranny' Of Capitalism In His First Major Doctrine Of Papacy