The Pope has made his traditional Christmas “Urbi and Orbi” address from St Peter’s in the Vatican City to crowds of the faithful.
At the end he delivered season’s greetings in 65 languages to the world’s 1.3 billion Roman Catholics, and in the address itself he made several calls for peace in the world’s most troubled regions.
“May the prince of peace bring about a resumption of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, may he bring an end to the violence in Syria, where so much blood has already been shed, and in Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Africa,” he said.
He also vowed to speak out for those who had no voice, and called for more help for those suffering from hunger and displacement in the Horn of Africa, and those hit by floods in Thailand and the Philippines.
Once his address was finished, each of his blessings was cheered by those who had come from far and wide to hear it.
The 84 year-old Pontiff spoke throughout in a strong, clear voice, and the occasion was blessed with bright, crisp weather.