Current developments concerning the refugee issue and the Ukrainian Church issue were at the heart of a meeting between Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Ieronymos and U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt on Friday.
In the meeting with the American ambassador, Ieronymos noted that Greece does not only have borders in Macedonia and Thrace but also maritime borders, which are more difficult to guard.
He said that Greece is constantly subjected to blackmail by Turkey, which “ lets open the floodgates” and sends refugees to Greek shores, stressing the need for European solidarity in the management of the issue, as well as U.S. and European support for the guarding of the borders.
Concerning the Church, the Archbishop underlined that he has not received a single euro for the management of the refugee issue, adding that funds given to NGOs are managed in a non-transparent manner. In addition, he spoke about refugee and migrant accommodation structures that he proposed should be redesigned in order to protect minors.
On his part, the head of the U.S. diplomatic mission told reporters that they discussed the Ukrainian Church. He said the Archbishop’s decision to recognise the Ukrainian Church as autocephalous was historic, and said that he had delivered a letter from Ambassador Sam Brownback, the U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, expressing respect for the Archbishop’s decision and noting that the United States acknowledged the wisdom with which the Archbishop had acted.