Archbishop Invites Syrian Family to Live in Lambeth Palace Home

Published: 21st September 2015 07:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st September 2015 07:49 AM   |  A+A-

Syrian refugees will be housed in a Grade II-listed cottage at the heart of Lambeth Palace.

A refugee family will move into the four-bedroom home after it emerged that the Most Rev Justin Welby. the Archbishop of Canterbury, will welcome people fleeing the war-ravaged country at his official London residence. However, it is understood the move will not be straight away because the building is being redecorated. The rent will be reportedly paid for by charitable funds under the Archbishop of  Canterbury's personal control.

A spokesman said: "We don't know when exactly it's going to happen. We have got one cottage that could house a family, but the Archbishop wants to get it refurbished first."

She said the cottage in the palace grounds was currently being redecorated and could provide room for a "family or two". She added: "As a Christian who leads the Church of England, it is something he feels absolutely passionate about.

"As the Archbishop has said, Jesus was a refugee, and there are refugees here who are desperate for sanctuary from war-torn places, and the Archbishop is completely torn about their situation and wants to make a difference."

Archbishop Welby had been reportedly thinking about housing Syrian refugees for a while. Earlier this month, he is understood to have met the Prime Minister as concerns grew that Christians in Syria will be largely excluded from the 20,000 refugees due to come to Britain over the next few years.

He raised the issue with David Cameron during a private meeting, a source told The Daily Telegraph.

The Government has expressed its commitment to house refugees from UN camps in Syria and neighbouring countries, in line with European Union policy. This means it is not able to discriminate against any religious denomination.

However, the Archbishop has raised concerns that Christians have avoided going to refugee camps because of fears that they will be persecuted by Islamist groups.

Archbishop Welby is not the first religious leader to offer to house Syrian refugees.

Pope Francis has already said two refugee families would move into Vatican housing.

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