Pope Benedict XVI used his Easter Sunday message to urge the Syrian regime to heed international calls to end bloodshed and commit to dialogue.
After celebrating Mass in St Peter's Square, Benedict voiced hope that Easter's joy would comfort Christian communities suffering because of their faith.
He denounced terrorist attacks in Nigeria that have hit Christians and Muslims alike and prayed for peace in coup-struck Mali.
The Pope struggled with hoarseness throughout the Mass before a crowd of more than 100,000 faithful.
Only hours earlier he had led a three-hour night-time Easter vigil inside St Peter's Basilica.