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Pope Holds Open-Air Mass On Beirut's Seafront
Ten of thousands of people from across the Middle East flocked to the Lebanese capital to attend an open-air Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.
Crowds converged on Beirut's seafront cheering and waving Vatican and Lebanese flags to greet Benedict as he arrived in his bullet-proof popemobile on the final day of his three-day visit to Lebanon.
The 85-year-old Pontiff prayed for an end to violence in neighbouring Syria and urged the international community - Arab nations in particular - to find a solution to the 18-month conflict.
Wearing green vestments and speaking from an altar, he appealed to the crowd to be "peacemakers" and to counter the "grim trail of death and destruction" in the region.
He said: "You know all too well the tragedy of the conflicts and the violence which generates so much suffering. Sadly, the din of weapons continues to make itself heard, along with the cry of the widow and the orphan.
"Violence and hatred invade people's lives, and the first victims are women and children. Why so much horror? Why so many dead?"
He added: "May God grant to your country, to Syria and to the Middle East the gift of peaceful hearts, the silencing of weapons and the cessation of all violence."
Helicopters flew overhead and soldiers set up roadblocks and patrolled streets in downtown Beirut during the address.
The Papal visit comes amid soaring sectarian tensions in the region, exacerbated by the raging Syrian civil war.
It has also coincided with protests over a US anti-Islam film which is said to insult the Prophet Mohammed.