Pope Francis visited the Greek island of Lesbos and took twelve Muslim refugees back to Rome with him on his papal airplane. The Vatican issued a statement that the refugees included six children. The twelve included three families who have had their homes bombed during the Syrian war.
The Pope visited the Greek island of Lesbos and had a six-hour visit there. He met the refugees when he visited a refugee camp there. The Vatican said that the refugees were at the camp in Lesbos before the EU and Turkey signed their recent agreement.
All of the Syrian refugees are Muslims, the Vatican reports. Two of the families are from Damascus and the third family is from Deir Azzor.
According to the statement from the Vatican, the Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, said “the Pope had wished to make a gesture of welcome and solidarity on behalf of the refugees.” The Vatican adds that “the initiative had been organized and made possible during discussions between the (Vatican) Secretariat of State and the relevant Greek and Italian authorities.”
The Vatican will be taking care of the cost of housing and other costs for the refugees. Father Lombardi said the Sant’Egidio community will be providing the initial shelter for them.
The announcement from Vatican Radio appears at this link.
Breitbart News’ Thomas D. Williams, PH.D reported on April 13 “that his upcoming visit to the Greek Island of Lesbos is meant as a gesture of “closeness and solidarity” to refugees and to all the Greek people who have been “so generous in welcoming them.” In advance of his trip the Pope said, “Next Saturday I will go to the island of Lesbos, where countless refugees have passed in recent months,” Francis told the tens of thousands gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for his weekly audience, Williams reported.
Pope Francis said he would travel with his “brothers,” Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Hieronymos, the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, “to express closeness and solidarity to refugees and to the citizens of Lesbos and all the Greek people who have been so generous in welcoming them.”
The island of Lesbos has been called “the gateway of Europe” and “ground zero” because of the huge numbers of migrants traveling to Europe and entering at that point.