The Prophetic Voice of the Orthodox Church

The Prophetic Voice of the Orthodox Church

Dec 3, 2020

In 1989 His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch +Dimitrios declared that humanity’s abuse of the creation was leading the world into “apocalyptic self-destruction.”

Since that time a stream of commentary has poured forth from across the spectrum of Orthodox churches on the critical importance of restoring humanity’s right relationship to God’s creation.

Despite the harmony of voices from Orthodox patriarchs, many clergy and parish members still do not hear the message of Christian responsibility for the earth. When failures of this sort arise, parish members fail to hear the voice of the Church. Then, the institutional administration of Christianity abrogates its duty to discern truth regarding the conditions of the world.

Let us then pay close attention to their words which follow this chapter introduction. They guide and direct us into a vigorous engagement with all that is tearing down the integrity of creation and they urge us into a lifestyle that is Christian and healing, transforming and soul saving.

HAH Ecumenical Patriarch DIMITRIOS I

Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome

The abuse by contemporary man of his privileged position in creation and the Creator’s order “to have dominion over the earth” (Gen. 1.28) has already led the world to the edge of apocalyptic self-destruction, either in the form of natural pollution which is dangerous for all living beings, or in the form of the extinction of many species of the animal and plant world, or in other forms.

Scientists and other men of learning warn us of the danger, and speak of phenomena which are threatening the life of our planet, such as the “greenhouse phenomena” whose first indications have already been noted.

In view of this situation, the Church of Christ cannot remain unmoved. It constitutes a fundamental dogma of faith that the world was created by God the Father, who is confessed in the Creed to be “Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.”

Encyclical Letter Proclaiming the Day of Protection of the Environment
September 1, 1989

HAH Ecumenical Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW

Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome

Our first task is to raise the consciousness of adults who most use the resources and gifts of the planet.

Ultimately, it is for our children that we must perceive our every action as having a direct effect upon the future of the environment….

We invite Orthodox Christians to engage in genuine repentance for the way in which we have behaved toward God, each other and the world….

For humans to cause species to become extinct and to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation… [to cause] changes in its climate… [or] injure others with disease…, for humans to contaminate the Earth’s waters, land, air and life with poisonous substances, these things are sins.

Religion, Science and the Environment, 
Santa Barbara, California, 
November 8, 1997

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