The Orthodox Fellowship of the Transfiguration
During preparation for the production of this film, the OFT steering committee established a series of goals and principles which the film should embrace. These were developed over three years of discussions and examination of the issues facing the Orthodox Church and all humanity.
This film seeks to represent the Orthodox theology of creation which causes us to address global climate change. Our emphasis is upon God and Jesus Christ. This film will provide the teachings of the Church on care of creation with a focus on climate change.
We will bring together Scripture on care of the creation, the writings of the saints and Fathers and Mothers of the Church, and the contemporary commentary of the Patriarchs and top Hierarchs of the Orthodox Church and their advocacy on the importance of addressing ecological issues and particularly global climate change.
Several key themes will be emphasized: An especially important theme is the human person as a priest of creation. We will highlight our Orthodox purpose as the transfiguration of creation. A moral imperative about climate change follows out of our Orthodox Tradition.
The message of climate change as an Orthodox concern is central. Care for the environment is also critical as climate change is an aspect of this ancient responsibility to take domion and to “dress and keep” the creation. All this exists under the covenant of Noah who tells us obey the commands lest a worse calamity befall humanity.
Another focus is a critique of the modern lifestyle. Society has organized itself around individualism, consumerism, and fossil fuel energy. These are now integrated into every facet of livelihood. The causes of Climate change should be highlighted.
The film must repesent a pan-Orthodox approach to issues. A spectrum of jurisdictions making up one Church should be displayed. The film and its website should represent the whole Church.
Fr Terry emphasized that the film should remain simple and not become too technical. We need this film to fit and speak to the people in the parishes. In addition, an emphasis on parish study groups or some teaching program would increase the value of this film. No single film can be expected to capture all of the implications of abuse of the environment or the challenge of global climate change.
For the Orthodox Church climate change is a moral and spiritual issue. It is also an existential threat to the future of the human race and the life on our planet. The film must reflect this moral and spiritual issue.
The film should feature hierarchical participation, as well as the voices of clergy and informed individuals from the parishes.
We have been reminded again and again by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, “to degrade and exploit the earth, and to go on relying on carbon-based fuels as if there is nothing wrong and global warming does not matter, is a sin of the highest magnitude.”
A clear theological and scientific context for climate change must be integrated into the dialogue. The Orthodox imperative for addressing climate change comes out of our mystical theology. There is a sanctity to the earth that derives from its creation by God and the presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit filling all things. This makes global warming a pro-life imperative of the highest urgency.
Our children’s lives are at stake – if not in this generation, then surely by the next. This is an important message to convey to all of faithful – and especially to clergy.
Many clergy still do not consider the spiritual and moral implications of climate change – as if theology has no meaningful connection to life in this world.
Can we embrace all of these considerations into one short film? This is more than we can assume from a single low budget film. This film can introduce parishes to this issue, but study and discussion will be necessary for the deeper development of the moral, ethical and spiritual implications. This will become the duty of the local parish.