» 04/16/2016, 12.08
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.
Lesbos (AsiaNews) - You are not alone, your voices are and will be heard, Pope Francis said during his visit to the Moria refugee camp this morning, on the Greek island of Lesbos. A visit full of emotion and at times even anger for Francis and his two companions: the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop of Athens Hieronymus. In fact, the Orthodox leader, in his speech, warned the world: "We and you will be judged by how we treat the migrants."
Between 2,500 and 3 thousand people live in the camp. The Pope personally greeted hundreds of people, and stopped to share a moment with each. Several migrants threw themselves at his feet and crying, asking for prayers and presenting dramatic personal situations. A little girl told him, in broken English and Arabic, of her dream to join her family in Germany. Francis, Bartholomew and Hieronymus were visibly moved.
In his speech Francis said, : “I have wanted to be with you today. I want to tell you that you are not alone. In these weeks and months, you have endured much suffering in your search for a better life. Many of you felt forced to flee situations of conflict and persecution for the sake, above all, of your children, your little ones".
You migrants, resumes, " You have made great sacrifices for your families. You know the pain of having left behind everything that is dear to you and – what is perhaps most difficult – not knowing what the future will bring. Many others like you are also in camps or towns, waiting, hoping to build a new life on this continent. I have come here with my brothers, Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Ieronymos, simply to be with you and to hear your stories. We have come to call the attention of the world to this grave humanitarian crisis and to plead for its resolution".
As men of faith " God created mankind to be one family; when any of our brothers and sisters suffer, we are all affected. We all know from experience how easy it is for some to ignore other people’s suffering and even to exploit their vulnerability. But we also know that these crises can bring out the very best in us. You have seen this among yourselves and among the Greek people, who have generously responded to your needs amid their own difficulties".
Francis devoted a passage to the welcome migrants have received: "You have also seen it in the many people, especially the young from throughout Europe and the world, who have come to help you. Yes, so much more needs to be done! But let us thank God that in our suffering he never leaves us alone. There is always someone who can reach out and help us".
Despite the pain of the wounded humanity of Moria camp, the Pope wanted to leave a clear message: "do not lose hope! The greatest gift we can offer one another is love: a merciful look, a readiness to listen and understand, a word of encouragement, a prayer. May you share this gift with one another. We Christians love to tell the story of the Good Samaritan, a foreigner who saw a man in need and immediately stopped to help. For us, it is a story about God’s mercy which is meant for everyone, for God is the All-Merciful. It is also a summons to show that same mercy to those in need. May all our brothers and sisters on this continent, like the Good Samaritan, come to your aid in the spirit of fraternity, solidarity and respect for human dignity that has distinguished its long history".
Dear friends, is the conclusion, "may God bless all of you and, in a special way, your children, the elderly and all those who suffer in body and spirit! I embrace all of you with affection. Upon you, and those who accompany you, I invoke his gifts of strength and peace".
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.
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.
06/04/2016 17:51:00 ORTHODOXY – VATICAN
Francis, Bartholomew, and Ieronymos: Christian unity in favour of refugees, Europe’s embarrassment
Cardinal Parolin has received an official letter of invitation for Pope Francis. On 15 April, the pope, together with the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople and the Orthodox archbishop of Athens will be in Lesbos to meet refugees stranded on the island. "Europe has become insignificant in global terms because it has commodified Christianity". The ecumenical journey is the joint mission of Christians in the contemporary world.
16/04/2016 12:16:00 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.
Pope: Christian unity, an "urgency" in a world "hungry for truth and love"
Francis receives Ecumenical Patriarchate delegation in Rome for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. The Pope and Bartholomew, who sent a message, highlight how the search for unity is not the compilation of different opinions promulgated to integrate in a harmonious way, but the revelation of the one truth expressed through and in the divine person of Jesus Christ.
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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