Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Robert Sarah from a top Vatican post, the Vatican announced on Saturday.

Robert has been touted as a hero to many conservatives in the Catholic church who held divergent views with Pope Francis on matters theology.

The African cardinal from Guinea has held a number of posts in the Vatican in a span of 20 years and recently headed the department overseeing matters of sacraments and worship.

He has submitted his resignation to the pontiff in June 2020 on turning 75, as required of all bishops by Church law, but the pope often allows officials at the Vatican to extend their stay.

Robert has held his latest position since 2014 and was reluctant to implement changes fronted by Francis, including allowing women to be among those taking part in Holy Thursday services.

He was a darling of Conservatives in the Church who saw him as a potential Pope Francis successor, even as others termed him divisive and would not receive backing of the majority.

He was recently left with egg on his face last year former Pope Benedict asked for his name to be removed from a book defending priestly celibacy which they reportedly co-authored.

Benedict maintained that his contribution was minor and made the request just days before the publication of the controversial book.