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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

The Prince of Wales (Photo: PA)

The Prince said religious freedom could be a matter of life and death

An unnamed gunman pictured shortly after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

It’s time all nations stopped enabling repressive regimes

President Barack Obama

The bill will attempt to help the US administration combat a worldwide escalation in persecution of religious minorities

A Syrian girl pushes a cart loaded with cooking gas canisters in Aleppo (AP)

Archbishop Pizzaballa said ‘wars and the way of force have not been able to bring peace and justice’

Smoke rises from a government-held area of Aleppo, Syria (CNS)

Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo asked people to approach the ‘shattered city as if we were coming to the stable in Bethlehem’

A Syrian man walks past posters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo (AP)

Fragile countries have collapsed into civil war and flailing politicians have proved incapable of stopping the mayhem

Smoke rises following a Syrian government air strike on rebel positions in eastern Aleppo (AP)

A vigil Mass that was due to take place at the monastery had been moved to a different church

A Syrian girl walks amid the wreckage of damaged buildings and shops in  Aleppo (AP)

The papal nuncio to Syria delivered a letter from the Pope calling for ‘international humanitarian law to be fully respected’

Christian women gather at an Assyrian church in Irbil, Iraq (AP)

Bishop organised the raising of millions of dollars to pay ransom to the Islamic extremists