Statement by His Beatitude Ieronymos, Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, at the refugee camp of Moria, Lesbos, in the presence of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew:
It is with unique joy that we welcome today to Lesbos Pope Francis.
We consider his presence in the territory of the Church of Greece to be pivotal, because together we bring forward before the whole world, Christian and beyond, the current tragedy of the refugee crisis.
I warmly thank His Holiness and my beloved brother in Christ, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who blesses us with his presence as the first of Orthodoxy, uniting through his prayer so that the voice of the Churches can be more vocal and heard at all the ends of the civilized world.
Today we unite our voices in condemning the uprooting of the refugees to decry any form of depreciation of the human person.
From this island, Lesbos, I hope that a worldwide movement of awareness begins so that those who hold the lives of others in their hands may change course and that peace and security may return to every home, every family and every citizen.
Unfortunately, it is not the first time we denounce the politics that have brought these people to this impasse, we will act however until the aberration and depreciation of the human person has stopped.
We do not need to say many words. Only those who see the eyes of those small children that we met at the refugee camps will be able to immediately recognize in its entirety the bankruptcy of humanity and solidarity that Europe has shown these last few years to these and not only these people. I take pride in the Greeks, who even though going through their own struggles are helping the refugees make their own Calvary a little less ponderous, their uphill road a little less rough.
The Church of Greece and I personally mourn the so many souls lost in the Aegean. We have already done a great deal and we will continue to do so as much as our abilities allow us to undertake in handling this refugee crisis.
I would like to close this statement by making a request, a call, an urge to the agencies of the United Nations to finally using the great experience that they offer address this tragic situation that we are living. I hope that we never see children washing up on the shores of the Aegean see. I hope to soon see them there untroubled enjoying life.