Ecological destruction is 'sacrilegious',says Patriarch Bartholomeos
- 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
"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
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."
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