Pope Francis arrived in Athens on Saturday morning for a three-day visit as head of the Catholic Church and leader of the Vatican state.
The prelate and state leader arrived from Cyprus in Athens at 11:10 with a special flight of Aegean Airlines, accompanied by a pool of journalists from several countries. He was met at the airport by Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias, the Ambassador of the Vatican to Greece, and leaders of the Greek Catholic Church.
The prelate and the minister met briefly and privately at the airport before heading to the Presidential Mansion, where Pope Francis was formally welcomed at 12:00 by Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, who extended the invitation to him to visit the country.
On Saturday, Pope Francis also met Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis before meeting successively with local authorities, and the heads of the Greek Orthodox and Catholic Churches in Greece.
Pope Francis’ full schedule during his visit is as follows:
SATURDAY, DEC. 4:
12:00, Official welcome, Presidential Mansion in Athens
12:15, Courtesy call at Greek president’s personal office, Presidential Mansion
12:30, Meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Presidential Mansion
12:45, Meeting with representatives of Greek agencies, local government, and diplomatic corps, Presidential Mansion
16:00, Courtesy call to Archbishop Hieronymos of Athens and All Greece, Archdiocese of Athens
16:30, Meeting of the archbishop and the pope and their entourage, Archdiocese of Athens, Throne Room
17:15, Meeting with bishops, priests, members of monks’ orders and devotees, seminary students and teachers of the Catholic Church of Greece, Greek Catholic Cathedral of Agios Dionyssios Areopagitis
18:45, Private meeting with members of the Brotherhood of Jesus, Apostolic Nunciature
SUNDAY, DEC. 5:
09:15, Departure for Lesvos island, arrival at Mytilini at 10:10
10:45, Visit to migrants, Reception and Identification Center facilities
12:15, Return to Athens, arrival at Athens Int’l Airport ‘El. Venizelos’ at 13:10
16:45, Catholic Liturgy, Athens Concert Hall
19:00, Courtesy call by Archbishop Hieronymos, Apostolic Nunciature
MONDAY, DEC. 6:
08:15, Meeting with Greek Parliament President Kostas Tassoulas, Apostolic Nunciature
(Unspecified time), Meeting with main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, Vatican Embassy
09:45, Meeting with primary school students, Greek-French Ursuline School ‘Agios Dionyssios’, Maroussi
11:15, Departure ceremony, Athens International Airport