These are difficult days for Pope Francis. He is concerned about the situation in Jerusalem, fears for the fate of Christians in Iraq and Syria, and is worried also about the future of Europe.

“I utterly condemn any kind of violence in the name of God,” the pontiff says in an exclusive interview, when asked about the massacre at the synagogue in Jerusalem and the rise in terrorism of recent weeks.

“I am following with concern the escalation in Jerusalem and other communities in the Holy Land, praying for the victims and appeal from the bottom of my heart to the parties to put an end to hatred and violence,” he says. “Building peace is hard, but living without peace is a nightmare.”

In his first wide-ranging interview to the Israeli media, which will appear this weekend on Ynet, Francis says the Christian minority in the areas held by the Islamic State as is in the worst condition it has ever been.

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