Pope Francis celebrated his traditional "Urbi et Orbi" with a message of concern about violence and conflict in the world. He urged people to overcome their differences.
Pope Francis described the world's differences as a richness and championed the rights of religious minorities.
"My wish for a happy Christmas is a wish for fraternity," he told pilgrims in Saint Peter's Square on Tuesday.
"Fraternity among individuals of every nation and culture. Fraternity among people with different ideas... Fraternity among persons of different religions."
"Our differences, then, are not a detriment or a danger; they are a source of richness," Pope Francis said.
The Argentine Pope expressed concern for the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ukraine.
"My thoughts turn to Yemen, in the hope that the truce brokered by the international community may finally bring relief to all those children and people exhausted by war and famine," he said.
He called for a "political solution" to the Syrian conflict, so that exiled Syrian people "can return to live in peace in their own country."
Pope Francis also expressed hope for renewed peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians "that can put an end to a conflict that for over 70 years."
Without specifying religions or countries, he prayed for "all those people who experience ideological, cultural and economic forms of colonization and see their freedom and identity compromised."
jm/mm (Reuters, AP)