The Pope comforted the refugees he met, sharing a message on empathy.
“I have wanted to be here with you today to speak with you and tell you: You are not alone. You have endured much suffering in your search for a better life,” the Pope said. “You have made great sacrifices for your families.”“May the world, the Good Samaritan, come to your aid with respect for human dignity,” he said.In explaining his prayers for the refugees and migrants, Francis invoked the name of the Lord.“I embrace all in affection,” he said. “I invoke his gift of strength and peace.”
Lesbos houses thousands who have fled Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries plagued by war and poverty in the last year. Thousands have drowned or gone missing after trying to cross the Mediterranean to peripheral European land such as Lesbos.
Francis visited the island with the leader of the Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens.
From its beginning, the visit was deeply moving to the refugees.
Some broke down in tears, with one man shaking as he asked, “Father, bless me. Please, bless me.”
Children took pictures of the Pope with their phones as he shook hands with those gathered to greet him.
At the port, Francis offered a prayer to God for “all the men, women and children who have died after leaving their homelands in search of a better life.”
“Though many of their graves bear no name, to you each one is known, loved and cherished,” the Pope said.
In the 24 hours before the Pope’s arrival, 125 migrants and refugees streamed into the Greek islands from Turkey, according to Greek government figures.