02:37 GMT29 January 2020
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    VATICAN CITY (Sputnik) - Pope Francis called for peace in the world’s conflict hot spots and an end to children’s suffering across the globe on Wednesday during his annual "Urbi et Orbi" Christmas Day message delivered at the Vatican.

    The leader of the Roman Catholic Church made reference to a number of conflict zones, such as the Middle East, Africa and Ukraine during his speech. He stressed that while there is "darkness in human hearts", the world could find comfort from Christ.

    Speaking about the Middle East region, the Pope offered prayers for the Syrian people, citing that the ongoing conflict has raged on for almost a decade.

    "[World leaders need to take steps] to find solutions to allow the peoples of that region to live together in peace and security, and put an end to their unspeakable sufferings", Pope Francis said, as quoted by the Vatican News website.

    The Pope also made reference to the suffering of people in Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen and Iraq.

    "So many people – struggling but not discouraged – still await a time of peace, security and prosperity", the website quoted the Pope as saying while commenting on the plight of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza.
    Pope Francis attends the weekly general audience at the Vatican, June 19, 2019
    © REUTERS / Yara Nardi
    Pope Francis attends the weekly general audience at the Vatican, June 19, 2019

    Pope Francis also discussed the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, offering his support to people caught up in the fighting.

    "May the Redeemer of the world bring light to beloved Ukraine, which yearns for concrete solutions for enduring peace", the leader of the Roman Catholic Church said.

    The Pope also offered prayers to those caught up in African conflicts. He paid special attention to the ongoing violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, before offering his sympathies to those who suffered religious persecution in Africa, including church missionaries.

    "And may He bring comfort to those who are persecuted for their religious faith, especially missionaries and members of the faithful who have been kidnapped, and to the victims of attacks by extremist groups, particularly in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria", the Pope said.

    In his concluding remarks, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church called on the world to take comfort from the fact that Christ was with them through the hardships, and expressed his hope that the world's children could find happiness.

    The Roman Catholic Church celebrates Christmas on 25 December. Pope Francis delivered a midnight Mass to thousands of Christians in St. Peter’s Square early on Wednesday morning.

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    Vatican, peace, Pope Francis, Pope
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