A team from the Apostolic Nunciature of Greece on Thursday visited the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos to assess how a 50,000-euro earthquake relief donation by Pope Francis can be best put to use.
Pope Francis made the donation at the start of the month to boost relief efforts on Lesvos after it was struck by a 6.3-Richter earthquake on June 12 that left one woman dead and destroyed dozens of buildings in the villages of Vrisa and Polichnitos.
The team was headed by Monseigneur Massimo Catterin, charge d’affaires of the Nunciature, and Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Naxos, Andros, Tinos and Myconos Nikolaos Printesis.
The Pope’s representatives met with Lesvos Mayor Spyros Galinos and other island and Greek Orthodox Church officials who briefed them on the damage caused by June’s quake, and then visited the stricken areas.
They decided that 30,000 of the 50,000-euro donation would go towards repairing the local school in Polichnitos so that it will be able to open when the school year starts in September, and the remaining 20,000 euros would be placed with Mytilene Metropolitan Bishop Iakovos, to be distributed at his discretion for church repairs.
“The sight we encountered in the village was truly disheartening: a deserted landscape with a lot of wrecked houses and the Church of Aghios Constantinos in complete ruins,” Archbishop Nikolaos said of the visit to Vrisa and Polichnitos. “After all of this, it was decided that the donation would go towards ensuring the operation of the school and the churches.”