Pope Francis flew back to Rome on Saturday, April 16, at the end of his 6-hour visit to the Greek Island of Lesvos during which he implored Europe to treat refugees with dignity, according to Vatican Radio. The papal plane took off from Lesvos’ airport at 15.32 local time.
The Pope was accompanied on his visit to Lesvos by the Orthodox leader, the Ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I and the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, Ieronymos II.
During their visit, the three spiritual leaders signed a joint declaration calling on the international community to make the protection of human lives a priority and to extend temporary asylum to those in need.
Earlier they toured the Moria refugee camp where many of the refugees fell to their knees and wept at the Pope’s feet as the three spiritual leaders toured the camp and met its inmates.
While on Lesvos, Pope Francis met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Discussed at the meeting was the refugee and migration crisis, in particular the situation on the island.
It was stressed that “the refugee crisis is a European and international issue calling for a comprehensive response that respects European and international law.”
Earlier in a tweet Pope Francis wrote, “Refugees are not numbers, they are people who have faces, names, stories, and need to be treated as such.”