Vatican City, September 18, 2015
According to a press release issued today by the Apostolic Almoner, the parish community of St. Anna in the Vatican has received a family of refugees, consisting of a father, mother and two children. They are Syrian, Christians of the Catholic Greek-Melkite rite, and fled from their war-torn home city of Damascus, arriving in the Vatican on Sunday, Sept. 6.
That was the same day that, during the Angelus, the Pope launched an appeal to each parish, religious community, monastery and shrine of Europe to offer shelter to a refugee family.
The four members of the family will stay in an apartment in the Vatican, near St. Peter’s. The procedures for requesting international protection were initiated immediately. According to the law, for the first six months after presenting the request for asylum, applicants may not accept paid work. In this period they will be assisted and accompanied by the St. Anna parish community. Until the decision is made in Italy as to whether or not their status of refugee will be granted, further information regarding this family cannot be given.
The Vatican requested that they not be sought for interviews by the media.