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Ecumenical patriarch: struggle against materialism during Lent

March 18, 2016

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who holds a primacy of honor in Eastern Orthodoxy, called upon Orthodox Christians to “struggle against the materialistic and covetous way of life” during Lent, which began on March 14 in churches that follow the Julian calendar.

“The fast and abstinence from food, idle talk, and deceitful thought represent the start of the correct, restrained, and temperate use of material goods, with the common good as its goal,” the ecumenical patriarch said in his annual Lenten catechetical homily. “In this way, we eliminate the negative impact that irrational use of goods may have upon society and the natural environment.”

He added:

Especially in our times, the financial and refugee crises, as well as the multitude of hardships that plague the world today, offer to us Orthodox Christians the possibility to cultivate the authentic spirit of the fast, linking abstinence from food with acts of charity and solidarity toward our brethren most in need—those who suffer, the poor, the homeless, the refugees, those who have no place to rest their head, and those who are forced by the harsh conditions of war, challenges, and grief to abandon their paternal homes and to travel amid countless risks, dangers, and sorrows.

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