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Eastern Orthodox leader urges repentance for environmental damage, prayer for creation’s restoration

Catholic World News - August 29, 2012

On the eve of a new Eastern Orthodox liturgical year, which begins September 1, the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople issued an encyclical calling for repentance for environmental damage.

“Biodiversity is the work of divine wisdom and was not granted to humanity for its unruly control,” writes Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who holds a primacy of honor among Eastern Orthodox prelates. “By the same token, dominion over the earth and its environs implies rational use and enjoyment of its benefits, and not destructive acquisition of its resources out of a sense of greed. Nevertheless, especially in our times, we observe an excessive abuse of natural resources, resulting in the destruction of the environmental balance of the planet’s ecosystems and generally of ecological conditions, so that the divinely-ordained regulations of human existence on earth are increasingly transgressed.”

“The invocation and supplication of the Church and us all to God as the Lord of lords and Ruler of all for the restoration of creation are essentially a petition of repentance for our sinfulness in destroying the world instead of working to preserve and sustain its ever-flourishing resources reasonably and carefully,” he continued. “In praying for the natural environment, we are praying for personal repentance for our contribution – smaller or greater – to the disfigurement and destruction of creation, which we collectively experience regionally and occasionally through the immense phenomena of our time.”

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  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Aug. 29, 2012 10:11 PM ET USA

    Environmentalism has become a really big deal in Orthodox circles as of late. As long as it has a Biblical and Patristic basis I don't see the harm in it. Read St. John Chrysostom's holimlies on Romans 8 to get a good idea of an Eastern view of man's relationship to Creation.

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