Pope Francis prayed for peace in Syria during his inaugural Easter Sunday message in the Vatican.
Speaking to a crowd of some 250,000 people in St. Peter's Square, the pontiff called for a political solution to the ongoing Syrian conflict, and said that the Israel-Palestine conflict had gone on for too long.
He made special mention of “dear Syria, for its people torn by conflict and for the many refugees who await help and comfort.“How much blood has been shed! And how much suffering must there still be before a political solution to the crisis will be found?” he said.
Easter is the most important festival in the Christian calendar, as believers celebrate the death and rebirth of Jesus Christ.
The Pope marked the occasion by touring the square in his white "popemobile", greeting some of the Christians that had arrived from far flung corners of the world. The Latin American pontiff made an unprecedented step last week on Holy Thursday, when he washed the feet of 12 inmates at a Rome youth prison - including two Muslims and two girls.