The Catholic Church of Lithuania plans to accept more Iraqi Christians who are being persecuted in their homeland, Vilnius Metropolitan Archbishop Gintaras Grušas, head of the Lithuanian Archbishops' Conference, says.
Archbishop Gintaras Grušas
© DELFI / Orestas Gurevičius

In his words, the Church is considering accepting another 16 Iraqi families after taking in three families this summer.

"I have met with a Chaldean bishop from Iraq and he said there are lists of at least 16 families that want to come to Lithuania. We are evaluating our capabilities and how much we can help," Grušas told BNS on Monday.

Representatives of the Catholic Church in Lithuania will discuss possible arrival of refugees with state institutions, he added.

Christians are being persecuted in a large territory of Iraq, controlled by the Islamic State.

On Sunday, Pope Francis called on every parish in Europe and every religious community to accept at least one refugee family.

Grušas believes the papal call was made "at the right time" and the faithful are being invited to respond to it and "show Christian mercy."

The archbishop acknowledged, however, that in Lithuania refugees would not be equally distributed among all 700 parishes due to differences in infrastructure and the possibility to learn the Lithuanian language.

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