Pope Francis to visit refugees on Greek island

Pope Francis will meet with refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos on April 16 to show his support and solidarity for the migrants.

Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press office, said the invitation for the pope to visit the island came from Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, and Greek president Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

A Vatican statement released on April 7 said Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Jerome II of Athens and Greece will join the pontiff during the visit.

Lombardi said that through the visit Pope Francis will call “all communities of believers to solidarity and responsibility” in the face of a “situation of intense suffering.”

Hundreds of thousands of refugees, many fleeing conflict in North Africa and the Middle East, are staying on the Greek island since their arrival in Europe in the past year.

The Vatican has earlier criticized a plan to deport illegal migrants from Greece and return them to Turkey.

Lombardi said the pope’s visit to Lesbos is “an initiative of all the Christian churches together.”

There is still no schedule for the trip, but the Vatican spokesman it will be a “brief” visit.


Catholic News Agency
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