· Pope to visit Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Ieronymos II in Greece on Saturday, 16 April ·
On Saturday, 16 April, Pope Francis will visit Lesbos where, together with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Ieronymos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, he will visit with the refugees living in the camps on the island. This announcement was made on Thursday, 7 April, in the Holy See Press Office. The Pope accepted the invitation from Bartholomew and the Greek President, Prokopīs Paulopoulos. The schedule for the visit has not been made public, however the Pope and the two Orthodox leaders are expected to visit the refugee camp and then pray together at the island's port which faces the sea where many have lost their lives attempting to flee war and poverty. Speaking to journalists, Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, said that the visit will last one day and “represents a strong call to responsibility and solidarity regarding this dramatic emergency”.
The Pope's visit comes at a crucial moment. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees just announced that more than 22,000 refugee children are stuck in Greece and are facing an uncertain future of possible violence and exploitation.
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