Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I has urged Europe to stop trying to divide economic migrants from asylum seekers as he prepares for Saturday’s hugely symbolic visit to the Greek island of Lesbos alongside Pope Francis.
Reiterating that Christians have a moral duty to show hospitality to strangers, Bartholomew said in an interview published Friday that Europe should take inspiration from the generosity of Lesbos residents confronted with a mass influx to their island.
“This question puts me in mind of St Paul’s letter to the Hebrews in which he reminds us not to forget hospitality because those who offer it have sometimes hosted angels without knowing it,” Bartholomew told Italian daily Il Messaggero.
“Hospitality represents a concrete example of love for our neighbour and the way all Christians should live their lives.”
The patriarch said Saturday’s trip to the Greek island at the center of the migrant crisis would “send a strong message in every direction”.