When the Pope and Patriarchs Go Island Hopping: Cuba, Lesbos, and Crete

Public Orthodoxy

by Paul L. Gavrilyuk

In the effort to draw the world’s attention to the refugee crisis, Patriarch Bartholomew invited Pope Francis to meet on the island of Lesbos on Saturday, April 16, 2016. This is the fifth meeting between the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch in the last three years, beginning with Bartholomew’s unprecedented participation at Francis’ inauguration in March 2013. The primary purpose of the meeting on Lesbos was for the Pope and the Patriarch to demonstrate to the world their profound solidarity with the plight of migrants and refugees that have been flooding this Greek island since the breakout of the war in Syria. Leading by example, the two primates ate together with those whose lives had been disrupted by war. Such a demonstration of humility is yet another attempt to nudge the Catholic and the Orthodox churches in the direction of unity.

But the meeting on Lesbos…

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