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Pope Francis is pictured with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Giuseppe Lami, Reuters pool)

The Palestinian embassy to the Holy See was inaugurated on Saturday

Mgr Hilarion Capucci (Piotr Zygulski/Wiki)

Monsignor Hilarion Capucci had a history of activism linked to Middle East conflicts

Pope Francis waves to faithful prior to delivering the Urbi et Orbi Christmas day blessing from the main balcony of St Peter's Basilica (AP)

In his Urbi et Orbi blessing, the Pope called for an end to the fighting in Syria and other war-torn countries

A man dressed as Santa Claus stands on the wall of the Old City in Jerusalem (AP)

A tale of three Christmases

In the birthplace of Christianity, the different calendars used by churches mean that Christmas comes more than once a year

A plane drops fire retardant during a wildfire near Nataf, Israel (CNS)

Most of the fires were under control by November 28, security officials said

Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrates Mass at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Gaza City (AP)

‘Their numbers are small, but their faith is strong,’ the cardinal said

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Vatican nuncio to the United Nations (CNS)

The Pope’s permanent observer at the UN told the Security Council that the creation of two states would help bring peace to the region

The bishops were confronted by security forces and instructed to leave (Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk)

A delegation of bishops from the Holy Land Coordination was turned away from the Cremisan Valley

President Abbas greets the Pope at the conclusion of the canonisation Mass (CNS)

The Holy See has announced that its ‘comprehensive agreement’ with the ‘State of Palestine’ has now been put into effect

Syrians look at a destroyed field hospital in the rebel-held area of Douma last week. Catholic leaders called for a diplomatic solution to the crisis (CNS photo/Mohammed Badra, EPA) See SYRIAC-CALL-DIPLOMACY Oct. 30, 2015.

Bishops also thanked God for release of Fr Jack Murad by ISIS earlier this month