NEWS

Greek premier welcomes Pope Francis to Lesvos

TAGS: Religion, Migration, Diplomacy

Pope Francis has been greeted on the Greek island of Lesvos by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the leaders of the world's Orthodox Christians and the Church of Greece.

Tsipras greeted Francis as he descended the stairs from the plane Saturday. He was followed by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios I and the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Ieronymos, who both greeted the pope with a kiss on each cheek before the Greek and Italian national anthems were played. The head of Lesvos's tiny Catholic community was also present.

The religious leaders' visit to the island, which has seen the majority of the arrivals of migrants heading into Europe, is a highly symbolic one. It comes shortly after the European Union began deporting new arrivals back to Turkey under a controversial deal meant to stem the refugee flow. [AP]

Online