Pope Francis will visit Cyprus and Greece next month, the Vatican announced Friday, returning to the island of Lesbos, a major port of entry for migrants into Europe.
The trip follows a visit to Budapest and Slovakia in September, and comes just five months after the 84-year-old was hospitalized following surgery on his colon.
“Pope Francis will travel to Cyprus from 2 to 4 December, visiting the city of Nicosia, and to Greece from 4 to 6 December, visiting Athens and the island of Lesbos,” spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a brief statement.
The Argentine pontiff has travelled widely since he took office in 2013, building bridges with other faiths and highlighting his key concerns, such as migration.
His first trip as pope, in July 2013, was to the Italian island of Lampedusa, the landing point for migrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa.
While there, he criticized the “globalization of indifference” over migrants.
In April 2016, he visited Lesbos at the height of Europe’s migrant crisis, where he paid a trip to Moria, the continent’s largest migrant camp that was destroyed by fire last year.
After his visit, the pope took three Syrian families from the camp with him on the papal plane to the Vatican in what he described as a humanitarian gesture.
Lesbos has for years been the main port of entry into Europe for asylum seekers.
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