Pope Francis is expected to make a visit to Greece on April 14-15 to shed light on the growing influx of refugees in Europe, a Greek government official said Tuesday. The news comes as a controversial EU deal with Turkey stalled.

The Holy Synod, the ruling body of the Greek Orthodox Church, reportedly said in a statement that the pope expressed his desire to visit to “draw the attention of the international community to the need for an immediate ceasefire in the conflicts” in the Middle East and to bring focus "on the major humanitarian problem" of the influx of refugees to Lesbos and other Greek islands.

The head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Ieronymos II, reportedly said that it was recommended the pope visit Lesbos, the main entry point for migrants and refugees crossing into Greece from Turkey.

The papal visit is expected to heighten attention on the EU-Turkey deal that has been strongly criticized by human rights groups. The controversial agreement will see one person from Turkey resettled in Europe for every refugee sent back from Greece. This resettlement and return is feasible up to a limit of 72,000, according to the European Union's existing resettlement and relocation commitments. The deal, which has been backed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, went underway this week.

"The Greek government will welcome Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as valuable defenders of support to refugees," a government source in Athens reportedly said.

The pope has expressed concern over the refugee crisis on several occasions. In March, he criticized the “rejection” of refugees as Europe struggled to cope with the influx. More than 1 million people sought refuge in Europe in 2015, with around half of them coming from Syria, where a five-year civil war has devastated the country, killing hundreds of thousands and creating millions of refugees.