The snap sees the paedo billionaire and his alleged “madam” enjoy a private audience with the head of the Catholic Church at the Vatican.
They are understood to have flown to Rome by private jet for the blessing by John Paul II almost two decades ago.
*see right side of the image below.
A source told The Sun On Sunday: “Pictures like this show just how powerful Epstein’s connections were and his ability to open almost any door.
“He managed to manipulate his way into royal palaces, the White House and the Vatican, all with Maxwell by his side.”
Our picture shows Epstein, wearing a dark suit and red-patterned tie, kneeling at the Pope’s feet with his ex-lover Maxwell, who is in a striped suit jacket and open-collar blue shirt.
Hands clenched together, they are both smiling and gazing into the eyes of John Paul II, who led the Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005.
The seated Pontiff has his arms raised in the photo, believed to have been taken in 2003.
Flight logs, which chart journeys made by sex beast Epstein, reveal he used his “Lolita Express” jet to fly from Rome to Madrid on May 20 that year.
On it were Maxwell, model scout Jean-Luc Brunel, pilot Pete Rathgeb and two passengers logged as “AM” and “JK”.
Frenchman Brunel, 75, was last year charged with rape and sexual assault of minors.
There is no suggestion Rathgeb knew of or was party to illegal activity.
There is no record of Epstein arriving in Rome, though logs put him in New York on May 12 and again by May 21.
Our papal snap is the latest to show Epstein and Maxwell rubbing shoulders with powerful world figures.
Photos in New York’s Central Park showed Epstein with Prince Andrew — while Maxwell appears with Andrew alongside Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
The US mum of three, now 38, is suing the royal, claiming he sexually assaulted her three times when she was under 18 — which he has repeatedly denied.
In April, The Sun revealed photos of Epstein and Maxwell grinning in the White House with then-US President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Epstein killed himself in jail in 2019 aged 66 as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.
Maxwell, 59, is facing trial later this month in New York, accused of recruiting young girls for the former financier and taking part in abuse.
The Sunday Times says prosecutors plan to use her “black book” against her, claiming it is “compelling evidence of her guilt”.
And Epstein’s “scheduler” Adriana Ross is expected to testify against Maxwell, court documents reveal.
The Polish ex-model, 38, is one of four female “co-conspirators” granted immunity from prosecution as part of Epstein’s plea deal in 2008.