» 04/16/2016, 12.16
VATICAN - GREECE - ORTHODOX
Migrant crisis, the "worst humanitarian disaster since the Second World War"
Francis, Bartholomew and Jerome sign a lengthy joint declaration on the situation of refugees. "World opinion can not ignore the colossal humanitarian crisis created by the spread of violence and armed conflict, the persecution and displacement of religious and ethnic minorities, and the uprooting of families from their homes, in violation of their human dignity and their fundamental human rights and freedoms". Renewed commitment to Christian unity, an appeal for the end of the war in the Middle East. The full text of the declaration.
Lesbos (AsiaNews) - The migrant crisis "is a tragic situation," and one of "deep concern”. World opinion cannot ignore the “colossal humanitarian crisis" that arises from the spread "of violence and armed conflict". "Europe today faces one of its most serious humanitarian crises since the end of the Second World War. To meet this grave challenge, we appeal to all followers of Christ to be mindful of the Lord’s words, on which we will one day be judged: «For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me… Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me», writes Pope Francis, the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop of Athens Hieronymus. Below the full text of the Joint Declaration.
We, Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, have met on the Greek island of Lesvos to demonstrate our profound concern for the tragic situation of the numerous refugees, migrants and asylum seekers who have come to Europe fleeing from situations of conflict and, in many cases, daily threats to their survival. World opinion cannot ignore the colossal humanitarian crisis created by the spread of violence and armed conflict, the persecution and displacement of religious and ethnic minorities, and the uprooting of families from their homes, in violation of their human dignity and their fundamental human rights and freedoms.
The tragedy of forced migration and displacement affects millions, and is fundamentally a crisis of humanity, calling for a response of solidarity, compassion, generosity and an immediate practical commitment of resources. From Lesvos, we appeal to the international community to respond with courage in facing this massive humanitarian crisis and its underlying causes, through diplomatic, political and charitable initiatives, and through cooperative efforts, both in the Middle East and in Europe.
As leaders of our respective Churches, we are one in our desire for peace and in our readiness to promote the resolution of conflicts through dialogue and reconciliation. While acknowledging the efforts already being made to provide help and care to refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, we call upon all political leaders to employ every means to ensure that individuals and communities, including Christians, remain in their homelands and enjoy the fundamental right to live in peace and security. A broader international consensus and an assistance programme are urgently needed to uphold the rule of law, to defend fundamental human rights in this unsustainable situation, to protect minorities, to combat human trafficking and smuggling, to eliminate unsafe routes, such as those through the Aegean and the entire Mediterranean, and to develop safe resettlement procedures. In this way we will be able to assist those countries directly engaged in meeting the needs of so many of our suffering brothers and sisters. In particular, we express our solidarity with the people of Greece, who despite their own economic difficulties, have responded with generosity to this crisis.
Together we solemnly plead for an end to war and violence in the Middle East, a just and lasting peace and the honourable return of those forced to abandon their homes. We ask religious communities to increase their efforts to receive, assist and protect refugees of all faiths, and that religious and civil relief services work to coordinate their initiatives. For as long as the need exists, we urge all countries to extend temporary asylum, to offer refugee status to those who are eligible, to expand their relief efforts and to work with all men and women of good will for a prompt end to the conflicts in course.
Europe today faces one of its most serious humanitarian crises since the end of the Second World War. To meet this grave challenge, we appeal to all followers of Christ to be mindful of the Lord’s words, on which we will one day be judged: «For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me… Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me» (Mt 25:35-36, 40).
For our part, in obedience to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, we firmly and wholeheartedly resolve to intensify our efforts to promote the full unity of all Christians. We reaffirm our conviction that «reconciliation [among Christians] involves promoting social justice within and among all peoples… Together we will do our part towards giving migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers a humane reception in Europe» (Charta Oecumenica, 2001). By defending the fundamental human rights of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants, and the many marginalized people in our societies, we aim to fulfil the Churches’ mission of service to the world.
Our meeting today is meant to help bring courage and hope to those seeking refuge and to all those who welcome and assist them. We urge the international community to make the protection of human lives a priority and, at every level, to support inclusive policies which extend to all religious communities. The terrible situation of all those affected by the present humanitarian crisis, including so many of our Christian brothers and sisters, calls for our constant prayer.
Lesvos, 16 April 2016
Ieronymos II Francis Bartholomew I
16/04/2016 12:08:00 GREECE - VATICAN
Pope to refugees in Lesbos: You are not alone, I plead with the world for a solution
Along with the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop of Athens Hieronymus, Francis visits the large Moria refugee camp on the Greek island. Moving, painful but also much joy, especially from the young people. Many throw themselves at the Pope’s feet to tell stories of pain and suffering. The pope: "Do not lose hope." Special thanks to the Greek people who "despite their own suffering" opened hearts and homes to those fleeing from pain.
16/04/2016 18:28:00 VATICAN - GREECE
Pope calls on Europe to be a land of welcome, says migrants are not numbers but faces
Meeting the people of Lesbos, Francis expresses "admiration" for the Greek people who - despite difficulties - welcomes those who suffer: "God will reward this generosity, like that of other surrounding nations, which from the first moments have received with great availability many forced migrants. " The people's "concerns are legitimate," but we must never forget that in front of us we have people who are suffering. A common prayer.
17/04/2016 12:47:00 VATICAN - GREECE
Pope Francis brings three Syrian refugee families home to the Vatican
They arrived with the pontiff from Lesbos. They join the two families already living inside the Vatican. Pope alights first from the plane bringing him back to Rome to shake hands with each of them. The reception and the maintenance of three families will be borne by the Vatican. The initial hospitality - said Father Lombardi - will be guaranteed by the Community of Sant'Egidio.
30/05/2008 RUSSIA – VATICAN
Pope writes Aleksij II who still says no to Ravenna
Cardinal Kasper handed Aleksij II a message in which the Pope expressed his esteem and gratitude to the Russian Patriarch. According to the Vatican the meeting took place in a cordial atmosphere; invariably though the Patriarchate highlighted all the unsolved problems that come between the two Churches like the Uniate Church, Catholic orphanages and the Ravenna Statement.
05/10/2016 19:42:00 VATICAN – ANGLICANS
Pope and Welby sign joint declaration on shared faith that is broader than any differences
The document signed today states that Catholics and Anglicans want to pursue the search for unity despite "disagreements" on the ordination of women and sexual morality, as well as the “perennial question about how authority is exercised in the Christian community”.
ISRAEL – PALESTINE
New Vicar of Jerusalem to focus on young people and education, future of peace and hope
Mgr Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo stressed the importance of education to ensure the future of new generations. The Church is a sign of "unity" in a context "marked by divisions" and a bridge in interfaith dialogue. The situation has gone from euphoria for peace to resignation over permanent conflict. He appeals to Western Christians to come as pilgrims to the Holy Land.
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