Friday, February 5, 2016

‘Global warming is a moral crisis and a moral challenge’ – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

The Ecumenical Patriarch is known as the Green Patriarch due to his beliefs, actions and work regarding the environment. He talks about it whenever he gets a chance, in order to make all of us aware of the care we need to show towards our planet, towards Creation in general. Global warming is not an issue of this world, it is an issue every Christian needs to take seriously. The relationship between us and the environment is evident from the book of Genesis. Our communion with God takes place not on another planet or away from the environment, but within Creation. It was made by God; therefore, it is blessed by Him. We are here to take care of it, to live within Creation and not to destroy it. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew explains:

‘. . . global warming is a moral crisis and a moral challenge. It is a crisis about and within the human heart. The solution of the ecological problem is not only a matter of science, technology and politics but also, and perhaps primarily, a matter of radical change of mind, of new values, of a new ethos.
For the Orthodox tradition, sin has a cosmic dimension and cosmological impact. The theology of the Orthodox Church recognises the natural creation as inseparable from the identity and destiny of humanity, inasmuch as every human action leaves a lasting imprint on the body of the earth. This means that human attitudes and behaviour towards other people directly impact on and reflect human attitudes and behaviour toward creation.
This is why we use the term metanoia, which signifies a shift of mind, a total change of heart, to determine the transformation of our attitudes and actions toward our world. This is very important because, during the last century, a century of immense scientific progress, we also experienced the biggest destruction of the natural environment. Science will inform us about the world; but it cannot reach the depth of our soul and mind. Today, we know; and yet we still continue to act against our knowledge. Knowledge has unfortunately not resulted in metanoia.’[1]

[1] Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch, ‘Creation Care and Ecological Justice: Reflections,’ Koinonia, New Series No.66, Allsaintstide 2015, p.44.

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