Pope Francis in Athens: meeting schedules, traffic restrictions, draconian security measures

Pope Francis arrived at Athens International Airport on Saturday morning. The head of the Roman Catholic Church arrived on a special flight from Cyprus. He was greeted by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and four children – a symbol of purity and representatives of the Catholic Church in Greece.

After a private meeting with Dendias at the airport and an official welcoming ceremony with the participation of high-ranking clergymen of the Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches, the Pope headed to the presidential palace, where he was met by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

There he also met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, representatives of local authorities and the diplomatic corps. At 4 o’clock in the afternoon, the Pope paid a ceremonial visit to Archbishop Jerome of Athens and All Greece in the Diocese of Athens. Later, he met with the clergy and parishioners of the Catholic Church.

Tomorrow, Sunday morning, Pope Francis will fly to the island of Lesvos, where at 10:10 he will visit the refugees at the Kara-Tepe Reception and Identification Center. Refugees are a very important problem for Pope Francis. He visited the island at the height of the refugee crisis in 2016 and offered shelter at the Vatican to three Syrian families who were on a papal plane to Italy. This time, they decided to do it on a much larger scale, and we are talking about about 50 migrants

It is the Lord Jesus whom we meet in the faces of our marginalized and discarded brothers and sisters, in the migrant who is despised, rejected, put in a cage, but also in the migrant journeying toward hope, toward a better human life. #ApostolicJourney

– Pope Francis (@Pontifex) December 3, 2021

Pope Francis will celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the Concert Hall of Athens at 16:00 on Sunday and will again meet with Archbishop Jerome of Athens.

The three-day visit will end on Monday with meetings with the Speaker of Parliament, the leader of the main opposition SYRIZA Alexis Tsipras, as well as students from Catholic schools in Athens. Dad will go home at 11:15 pm on Monday.

Officially, Pope Francis’s five-day visit to Orthodox Cyprus and Greece addresses the plight of migrants as Europe tightens its border control policies. In fact, the Pope came to discuss the emerging alliance between Fanari and the Vatican. The Fanari and the Church of Greece, which is heavily influenced by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, want to unite, since Washington decided that in this way the church could more successfully pressurize the Russian Orthodox Church. Trying in this way to finally split the Orthodox Church and, if possible, lead to the destruction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and create a split between the ROC and the Orthodox churches that currently support it.

Draconian security measures, traffic disruption

Pope Francis’s visit takes place under draconian security measures, with some 3,500 police officers stationed in the center of the Greek capital. Public gatherings in the open air were banned by Greek police from 6:00 to 22:00 on Saturday 5 December. Was canceled scheduled for Saturday anti-Axis rally, as well as rallies associated with the next anniversary of the death Alexandros Grigoropoulos.

On Sunday, traffic in the center of Athens will be stopped due to the visit of the pope. Police announced traffic restrictions from 13:00 to 20:00 on Sunday 5 December in the center of Athens, in the area between Evangelismos and Ambelokipoi metro stations.

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