Pope Francis has delivered his annual 'Urbi et Orbi' (to the city and to the world') Christmas message and blessing on 25 December. More than 40,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square to witness the pontiff's deliver the message from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica.

The Pope talked about the suffering in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Nigeria, South Sudan and DRC. He wished for peace and hope for those living under oppression of war and terrorism. Francis urged Israelis and Palestinians to "write a new page of history, where hate and revenge give way".

"Peace to all those who have been injured or have suffered the loss of a loved one due to the brutal acts of terrorism that have sown fear and death in the heart of many countries and cities," the pope said.

"Today this message goes out to the ends of the Earth to reach all peoples, especially those scarred by war and harsh conflicts that seem stronger than the yearning for peace."

The Pope also spoke about Colombia, where he was actively involved in attempts to end the ongoing civil conflict, and Venezuela, where a papal envoy tried to facilitate talks between the government and opposition amid widespread food and medicine shortages. He expressed concern over tensions between North and south Korea, and said Myanmar should "consolidate efforts to promote peaceful coexistence."

On Saturday, during Christmas night mass in St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope said that Christmas is being taken hostage by materialism which puts god in shadows and marginalises the hungry and migrants.

In the homily on Christmas eve, Francis said that a world that is obsessed with gifts, feasting and self centeredness needs more humility. He said that many people who were wealthy had to be reminded that the message of Christmas was simplicity, humility and mystery.

<sub>Additional reporting from AP.