POPE FRANCIS WILL GO TO GREEK ISLAND OF LESBOS APRIL 16
A communiqué from the Vatican Press Office has confirmed next week’s papal visit which aims to show support and solidarity for refugees in the front line of Europe’s migrant crisis. Press Office director, Fr. Federico Lombardi says the visit also has a strong ecumenical dimension. (photo news.va)
The press release says the Pope has accepted the invitations of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, His Holiness Bartholomew, and of the Greek president.
It says Pope Francis will meet with the refugees on the island together with the Ecumenical Patriarch and with His Holiness Jerome II, Archbishop of Athens and all Greece.
Hundreds of thousands of refugees, many fleeing the war in Syria, have poured onto the Aegean island over the past year.
This is a particularly delicate moment for them as, under a contested plan, the European Union started returning newcomers to neighboring Turkey this month.
Pope Francis has repeatedly appealed for support for migrants and refugees.
His first journey, after his election as Pope in 2013, was to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, which, like Lesbos, has received hundreds of thousands of migrants.