Pope Francis was caught on camera slapping a woman’s hand after she grabbed him while he was greeting pilgrims.
The 83-year-old Catholic leader reacted angrily to the worshipper after she yanked his hand towards her in the Vatican City’s St Peter’s Square last night.
The pope turned to face the woman, tried to pull his hand away and then hit her hand, prompting her to let him go.
The woman had made the sign of the cross as the pope approached her while walking to the set of a large Nativity scene in the square.
It was not clear what she was saying as she subsequently tugged him towards her.
Crowds chanted ‘Pope! Pope!’ and ‘Happy New Year’ as the pope passed by, Mail Online reports.
He led the Vespers and Te Deum New Year’s Eve prayer in Saint Peter’s Basilica last night.
The pontiff urged people to ‘build bridges, not walls’, during the ceremony.
On Christmas Eve, the leader encouraged the world to allow the light of Christmas to brighten the ‘darkness in human hearts’.
He voiced solidarity with the victims of conflicts in Venezuela, Syria, Ukraine and African countries.
The pope previously hit the headlines when he was filmed recoiling as worshippers tried to kiss his ring in March.
A Vatican spokesman said the pontiff pulled his hand away from his followers because he was worried about hygiene.
He apparently did not want to spread germs.
In the video, the pope can be seen pulling his hand away from a string of people as they lean over to kiss his ring.