Pope Francis told Syrian and Iraqi refugees at a camp in Bulgaria that their experiences were “a cross for humanity” as he continued his visit to the Balkans on Monday. Arriving in Bulgaria on Sunday, Francis begun his three-day tour by urging his hosts to open their hearts to refugees, in a country where public opinion has generally been negative towards migrants. On Monday, he visited the Vrazhdebna refugee camp on the outskirts of the capital Sofia, which has a capacity of more than 300 but currently hosts around 50 asylum seekers. “Today the world of migrants and refugees is a little like a cross for humanity, a cross suffered by so many people,” Pope Francis said. He spoke of the “horrors” they had suffered in “leaving their own country and seeking to integrate themselves in another”. In April 2018, the Council of Europe rights group voiced concern about Bulgarian efforts to integrate Middle Eastern refugees, with most relying on help from volunteers and NGOs. A small but energetic choir of refugee children welcomed Francis with two songs in Bulgarian before presenting him with brightly-coloured drawings, after which he greeted the other refugees at the camp individually. Iraqi refugee Soad,… Read full this story
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