Responding to a call from Pope Francis for every Church parish to house refugees, the Vatican City said on Friday, September 18, it had taken in a family that had fled the war in Syria, Reuters reports.
The family — a father, mother and their two children — came from Damascus and are Melkite Greek Catholics, a Christian church with close ties to the Roman Catholic Church.
The Vatican said in a statement that the family, which was not named, arrived in Italy on Sept 6, the day Pope Francis made his appeal for European parishes to open their doors to refugees. The four Syrians have since asked for asylum.
“According to the law, for the first six months following the request for asylum those seeking international protection cannot work. During this time, they will be helped and accompanied by the Parish of Santa Anna,” the Vatican said.
The Vatican City, a micro state which sits in the heart of Rome, contains two parishes — Santa Anna and St. Peter’s Basilica. The Vatican said it could not yet provide any information about a second family that is expected to be housed by the St Peter’s administration.
Some parishioners have been openly hostile to the idea of welcoming in Muslims. Monks in a village in Slovakia had to withdraw an offer to house Christian Syrian refugees after locals baulked at the idea.