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World News

Greece: bringing hope

Churches in Greece are bringing hope to ‘tired and distraught’ refugees, it was reported in October.

Us (also known as United Society)

Figure Image
Refugees in Lesvos | photo: Isobel Owen (AA)

Davidson Solanki, International Programmes Manager for Us (formerly USPG), reported from Athens: ‘In Victoria Square, Athens, migrants congregate having arrived from the Greek islands. Here I met many young families, women and children who were tired, hungry and scared, some of them were traumatised. With the Salvation Army, we helped to distribute food, and gave the children schoolbags containing stationery.

‘I found the people and the authorities in Greece to be in a kind of denial. First, they told themselves the refugee crisis would not be coming to Greece, but it did. Now they think it’ll be a temporary situation, but it seems the crisis will continue for months.

Historic moment

‘So it is significant that the churches in Greece have agreed to work together. It is especially significant in the context of Greece, where historically this has not happened.

‘We met to discuss the matter in the UN offices in Athens. The atmosphere was positive and upbeat, with a genuine desire to work ecumenically.

‘The five churches in question are the Greek Orthodox Church, the Anglican Church in Athens, the Greek Evangelical Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Salvation Army. ‘Our aim is to work together to identify and fill in some of the gaps left by other aid operations.