He then held a private, brief meeting with Tsipras at the airport. According to an April 16 communique from the Vatican, the discussion focused on the current refugee and migration crisis, with particular attention to the situation on Lesbos.
The Pope then boarded a minibus with Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Ieronymos destined for the Moria refugee camp.
In his speech at the camp, Archbishop Ieronymos said the Pope's presence in Greece is "pivotal," since "together we bring forward before the whole world, Christian and beyond, the current tragedy of the refugee crisis."
"Today we unite our voices in condemning their uprooting, to decry any form of degradation of the human person," the Greek Orthodox archbishop said. He called on U.N. agencies "to finally, using the great experience that they offer, address this tragic situation that we are living."
"I hope that we never see children washing up on the shores of the Aegean. I hope to soon see them there, untroubled, enjoying life."
Patriarch Bartholomew also spoke, telling the refugees directly that as ecumenical leaders they have come "to look into your eyes, to hear your voices, and to hold your hands."
"We have traveled here to tell you that we care. We have traveled here because the world has not forgotten you," he said, explaining that migration is a global issue.
He said the world "will be judged by the way it has treated you. And we will all be accountable for the way we respond to the crisis and conflict in the regions that you come from."
Bartholomew pointed specifically to the plight of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East who face violent persecution and ethnic cleansing. He assured the migrants that "we shall never forget you. We shall never stop speaking for you. And we assure you that we will do everything to open the eyes and hearts of the world."
After speaking to the refugees, the leaders signed a joint declaration on the migration issue and ate lunch with some of the refugees in a container just behind the podium.
Following their lunch, the small delegation boarded the minibus again and made their way to a port. There they met with Greek citizens and members of the Catholic community of Greece. They held a memorial for the thousands victims of migration, many of whom have perished in the waters of the Mediterranean.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Speaking to the crowd gathered there, Pope Francis said he has wanted to visit the island "ever since migrants arrived here seeking peace and dignity."
He acknowledged the worries expressed by numerous people and institutions, both in Greece and in other European countries, and said these concerns are "understandable and legitimate."
However, the Pope also noted that despite the various concerns, migrants are not simply "a statistic" but are "first of all persons who have faces, names and individual stories."
"Europe is the homeland of human rights, and whoever sets foot on European soil ought to sense this, and thus become more aware of the duty to respect and defend those rights," he said.
The Pope stressed that in order to be truly united to those forced to leave their homelands, the causes of this "dramatic situation" must be eliminated first.
"It is not enough to limit ourselves to responding to emergencies as they arise," he said. "Instead, we need to encourage political efforts that are broader in scope and multilateral."