Pope Francis has condemned the series of brutal religious killings across the world, Nigeria inclusive. In his Christmas message, the pontiff called on the world leaders to see to it that all the warring factions are urged to lay down their arms and allow peace to rain.
He vehemently condemned this year's "brutal" religious persecution in the Middle East while urging peace in Nigeria, Ukraine and other troubled-spots in the world.
Calling for an end to violence against "vast numbers of children", and noting the last week's deadly attack in Pakistan, he said: Truly there are so many tears in this Christmas. All this he said during his annual Christmas "urbi et orbi" message.
In his second "Urbi et Orbi" - to the city and the world - Christmas message, the pontiff highlighted the plight of victims of conflict in Syria and Iraq.
"Too many people are being held hostage or massacred" in Nigeria, he added.
Pope Francis also urged dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians and condemned Taliban attacks in Pakistan.
Tens of thousands of people turned out on St Peter's Square to hear the Argentine Pope deliver his annual message.
He said Christians in Iraq and Syria had endured conflict for too long, and "together with those belonging to other ethnic and religious groups, are suffering a brutal persecution".
"May Christmas bring them hope, as indeed also to the many displaced persons, exiles and refugees, children, adults and elderly, from this region and from the whole world," the Pope said.