Pope Francis delivered a Christmas Day prayer, asking a recent UN-backed initiative for peace in Syria and Libya to end the suffering of their people.
The Pope denounced the "monstrous evil" in the war-ravaged region, and praised those would have taken in refugees from the conflict.
Speaking from the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica, the Pope addressed issues of war, poverty and extremist attacks, urging Catholics to spread the Church's message of mercy.
The event was under heavy security, which has been intensified following the November 13 Paris attacks that left 129 dead.
Pope Francis then issued a plenary indulgence – an ancient church tradition for the forgiveness of sins. The announcement followed his annual "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) speech, listing global hotspots and a call to end human suffering.
The Pope referenced the "brutal attacks of terrorism" that struck Paris this year, as well as attacks in Egyptian airspace, Beirut, Mali and Tunisia. He condemned the on-going violence in Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine, with words of consolation to persecuted Christians around the world.
"They are our martyrs of today," he said.
He urged the international community to tackle the problems in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and sub-Saharan Africa, where he said conflicts "even now reap numerous victims, cause immense suffering and do not even spare the historical and cultural patrimony of entire peoples".
He encouraged the faithful to "welcome God's mercy in our lives, and be merciful with our brothers to make peace grow".
"Only God's mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst."
Pope Francis has made indulgences plentifully available during his pontificate.
"We pray to the Lord that the agreement reached in the United Nations may succeed in halting as quickly as possible the clash of arms in Syria and in remedying the extremely grave humanitarian situation of its suffering people," Francis said. "It is likewise urgent that the agreement on Libya be supported by all, so as to overcome the grave divisions and violence afflicting the country."