Pope meets with Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Turkey

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
2 Dec 2014

One of the most moving moments of the Pope's trip to Turkey, was this meeting with children and teenage refugees in the Middle East. The Pope received  a warm welcome from the group.

"It's my pleasure to introduce to you, this group of boys, girls and teenagers who are refugees in this country."

The meeting took place in Istanbul's Don Bosco Oratory. The refugees are originally from Syria, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries. Others, from Africa. They shared their experiences with the Pope, adding that they've lost many things, but not their faith.

"Most reverend Pope Francis. We welcome your presence with us and in the name of Don Bosco Educational Center and on behalf of the Iraqi and Syrian refugees. Our message to the world is, we Christians of Iraq are committed to our Christian faith."

After listening to their testimonies, Pope Francis addressed the young crowd.

"I've longed for this meeting with all of you. I also wanted to visit other refugees but it wasn't possible. You are from Turkey, Syria, Iraq and from other Middle Eastern countries. Also from Africa."

The Pope explained that through his visit, he wants to show his support. He asked them to not give up, adding that God does not forget His children.

He also spoke out against the conditions many refugees are forced to live in, calling for the international community to work together to improve the situation. Ultimately, he called for wars to stop.

In Turkey alone, there are an estimated 1.5 million refugees from Syria and Iraq.