Pope Francis made an emotional visit to a detention camp on the Greek island of Lesbos and told the migrants “you are not alone.”
The Moria camp is a host to over 3,000 people, and some face the possibility of being deported to Turkey.
“Do not lose hope,” the Pope said, as he urged the world to show “common humanity” on the migrant crisis.
The EU-Turkey deal that was made last month with the intention of easing migrant crisis has led to thousands getting stuck on Lesbos.
The Vatican has insisted that the visit should be viewed as a religious and humanitarian one and not as a way of criticizing the deportations.
Many refugees lined up in the Moria camp so as to meet with the Pope. Others were holding banners that asked for help.
The Pope was handed by a young girl some artwork. He said “Bravo, Bravo” after which he told his staff: “Don’t fold it. I want it on my desk.”
The Pope acknowledged the great sacrifice that the people in the camp make and said his intention of visiting is to draw the attention of the world to this grave humanitarian crisis.”
He asked the residents not to lose hope and said that loving one another is the greatest gift we can offer.
On his plane journey to Lesbos, the Pope told reporters: “This is a voyage marked by sadness… We will witness the worst humanitarian disaster since the Second World War.
Among the leaders that met the Pope are the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, spiritual head of the world’s Orthodox Christians Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop of Athens Ieronimos II.
“The world has not forgotten you. The world will be judged by the way it has treated you,” the camp residents were told by Patriarch Bartholomew.
The three religious leaders signed a declaration in which they urged the international community to protect human lives and be considerate of those in need of asylum.
They also prayed for those that had lost their lives while crossing the sea. There was a moment of silence, which was followed by laying of wreaths in the sea.
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