Pope Francis’ words to journalists on board the charted flight yesterday to the Greek island of Lesbos struck an emotional chord: “It is a sad journey,” he said. “We are going to see the greatest humanitarian tragedy after World War II.”
As Francis deplaned he was greeted by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The pope expressed his gratitude for Greece’s generosity to Middle Eastern refugees, many of whom come to Europe fleeing from desperate situations.
Francis spent only 5 hours on the small Greek island near the cost of Turkey, while meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Ieronymos II, the archbishop of Athens and Greece. He took time to speak to refugees from regions of economic depravity, religious persecution and military strife. He then held a service to bless those who have died trying to reach Europe.