Faith In Action In Athens

Greece is in the international headlines at present for its high profile clash over its finances. But in the capital city of Athens the life of a caring church goes on, as Canon Malcolm Bradshaw from St Paul’s Anglican church writes;

“Amigdalesa detention centre on the edge of the northern suburbs of Athens holds 1,600 irregular migrants and forty unaccompanied minors. Bishop Robert visited it on 17th January and was deeply disturbed by what he saw. He refers to this occasion in his Lent Appeal. In the past ten days it has seen outbursts of rioting. Many of the detainees have been held in the detention centre for over 18 months which is contrary to the law. Most originate from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Basic facilities such as food, clothing, bedding, heating and medical support are limited. A fortnight ago there was snow with sub zero temperatures. Four of the detainees died through suicide, hunger strike and poor health. Others were seen shivering.

“The Anglican Church in Athens has responded to an emergency call from Efthalia Pappa who is responsible for the Integration Centre for Migrant Workers and the Ecumenical Refugee Programme, KSPM-ERP. She asked for clothing, shoes, bedding sleeping bags, shoes, toiletries to be sent to the detention centre. These are pictures of part of that collection – items given by individuals, companies and the British Embassy. A hundred sleeping bags bought by money sent from the chaplaincies within the diocese are included in the collection. A further collection is being made in the northern suburbs of Athens through St Peter’s Anglican Church. Efthalia Pappa praised the chaplaincy for its prompt response. The new Greek Government is releasing the detainees who have been held for over eighteen months. Each released detainee will be given a survival kit and a work employment permit. What the Athens Chaplaincy has collected will help make up these kits. Eventually the detention centre will be closed because of its poor facilities.”

Pass this latest report on and encourage everyone to do what they can for Bishop Robert’s Lent Appeal