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Pope Francis prays during the Christmas night mass in the Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Christmas Eve. His election as pope was named the No. 1 religion story of the year by religion writers. (Reuters)

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Election, resignation of pope lead 2013's religion stories

The Vatican was at the center of the top2 religion stories of the year

As the year came to a close, it appeared Pope Francis' attention was increasingly focused on the persecution of believers around the world, especially endangered Christian minorities in Egypt, Syria and throughout the Middle East.

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