(NCR Online) Three major leaders of long-separated Christian churches — Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and Greek Orthodox Archbishop Ieronymos II — converged in Lesbos on Saturday, issuing a stark warning to Europe that the continent will be judged on how it treats the hundreds of thousands of refugees reaching these shores.
Arriving less than a month after the European Union began deporting refugees awaiting asylum hearings here back to nearby Turkey — resulting in prison-like conditions in refugee camps as the migrants face legal processing — the leaders appealed for the continent to remember Jesus’ words on “the least of these.”
They made their appeal after an intensely emotional visit with hundreds of the detained refugees, many of whom were bawling openly. One man collapsed at the pope’s feet, shaking while he cried for a blessing. A woman pleaded for medical care for a daughter with bone cancer.
Several others grabbed Francis’ arms, hands, feet — whatever was nearest — screaming out for some sort of help or prayer.
In a joint declaration signed during the visit, the leaders sharply proclaim: “We appeal to all followers of Christ to be mindful of the Lordâ€™s words, on which we will one day be judged.” [More]