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Patriarch to migrants: The world will be judged

TAGS: Religion, Migration, Diplomacy

The spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians has told migrants in a detention center on the Greek island of Lesvos that the world will be judged by how it has treated them.

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios I also condemned the "hard-heartedness" that saw borders closed to the migrants.

Bartholomew, Pope Francis and the head of the Church of Greece are in Lesvos on a historic visit to highlight the plight of refugees. It comes after a controversial European Union-Turkey agreement under which those arriving on Greek islands after March 20 must be detained and returned to Turkey unless they successfully apply for asylum.

"We have traveled here to tell you that we care. We have traveled here because the world has not forgotten you," Vartholomaios said, adding that "we have wept as we watched the Mediterranean Sea becoming a burial ground for your loved ones."

He praised the "sympathy and sensitivity" of Greek island residents who welcomed the refugees, but stressed migration isn't an issue for "the Middle East and Northern Africa, for Europe and Greece. It is an issue for the world."

"The world will be judged by the way it has treated you. And we will all be accountable for the way we respond to the crisis and conflict in the regions that you come from," he said. [AP]

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