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Pope Francis will have lunch with several refugees on the island of Lesbos

2016-04-14

As he did in Lampedusa, the Pope will embrace the suffering of the refugees, this time in Greece. On Saturday, he will visit the island of Lesbos, where more than half a million refugees have passed through to come to Europe in 2015.

It will be a humanitarian and ecumenical visit since the Pope will be accompanied at all times by the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew and Orthodox Archbishop Jerome II of Athens.

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI 
Spokesman for the Holy See
"This visit is born out of the Pope's concern about the current migrant and refugee situation, a concern shared by the Patriarch Bartholomew and the Greek Orthodox Church.”

His visit will last five hours. He will arrive at 10:20 am, local time at Mytilene airport. He will meet with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. At 11:15 am, he will visit the refugee camp of Moria, where he will have lunch with eight of them inside of a makeshift structures they have learned to call home. 
The visit will conclude at the port of Mytilene, where he will honor the deceased refugees and migrants. Pope Francis plans to take a plane back to Rome at 3:15 pm, local time.

The visit comes just weeks after the entry into force of the controversial agreement between the European Union and Turkey. The pact stipulates that refugees whose asylum application is rejected will be returned to Turkey.

Many organizations have described the agreement as shameful and UN agencies such as UNICEF and UNHCR, have refused to cooperate. Many of them, in fact, have withdrawn from refugee camps like Moria, where the Pope will visit.


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