VATICAN CITY : Pope Francis lit a candle at the Vatican on Sunday for victims of conflicts around the world, and in particular the children of war-torn Syria.

''Advent is a time of hope. Right now, my hope is for peace for the children of Syria, tormented by war that has lasted eight years,'' he said after the Angelus prayer.

''I am lighting a candle along with the many Syrian children and believers across the world who are lighting theirs,'' he said, as put match to wick in the window of the papal apartment, which overlooks Saint Peter's Square.

''Let those flames of hope dispel the shadows of war!'' the pontiff said.

''May the flame of hope also reach all those who are victims of conflicts and tensions around the world, near and far.''

The  ''Candles for Peace in Syria'' Christmas initiative was launched Sunday by  Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity. [AFP]


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