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Ecological destruction is 'sacrilegious',says Patriarch Bartholomeos

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  • frjohnbrian@priest.com
    Ecumenical News International / 4 June 2009 Ecological destruction is sacrilegious , says Patriarch Bartholomeos Geneva, 4 June (ENI)--Ecumenical Patriarch
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5 5:47 AM
      Ecumenical News International / 4 June 2009

      Ecological destruction is 'sacrilegious', says Patriarch Bartholomeos

      Geneva, 4 June (ENI)--Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I, seen
      by many of the world's Orthodox Christians as their spiritual leader,
      has called the destruction of the environment a "sacrilegious and
      sinful" act.

      "The ecological crisis, and particularly the reality of climate change,
      constitutes the greatest threat for every form of life in our world,"
      Bartholomeos said in a statement issued to mark World Environment
      Day on 5 June.

      "With the opening of this third millennium, environmental issues
      already evident since the 20th century acquired a new intensity,
      coming to the forefront of daily attention," said Bartholomeos, who
      is sometimes called the Green Patriarch because of his public
      support for the environmental cause.

      "According to the theological understanding of the Orthodox
      Christian Church, the natural environment is part of Creation and is
      characterised by sacredness. This is why its abuse and destruction is
      a sacrilegious and sinful act," said the Orthodox leader, who is based
      in Istanbul, the former Constantinople and one-time capital of the
      Byzantine Empire.

      Bartholomeos described World Environment Day as, "an opportunity
      as well as an invitation for all of us, irrespective of religious
      background, to consider the ecological crisis".

      The United Nations General Assembly established the environment
      day in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on
      the Human Environment.

      This year's theme is "Your Planet needs You! Unite to combat
      climate change". The topic is intended to stress individual
      responsibility to protect the planet, as well as the urgency for nations
      to agree on a new climate change deal at talks in Copenhagen in
      December, the U.N. Environmental Programme stated.

      Patriarch Bartholomeos said that while the political authorities of
      each nation have a greater duty, "the responsibility of each individual
      is also immense, both in one's personal and family life but also in
      one's role as an active citizen."

      United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "I encourage
      all people to take concrete steps toward making the planet greener
      and cleaner. Switch off the lights. Take public transportation.
      Recycle. Plant a tree. Clean up your local park. Hold corporations
      responsible for their environmental practices. And urge your
      government representatives to 'Seal the Deal' in Copenhagen."

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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