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On Earth As In Heaven: Ecological Vision and Initiatives of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

On Earth As In Heaven: Ecological Vision and Initiatives of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Edited and with an Introduction by John Chryssavgis
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Fordham University Press
Pages: 388
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  • Book Info
    On Earth As In Heaven: Ecological Vision and Initiatives of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
    Book Description:

    Over the past two decades, the world has witnessed alarming environmental degradation--climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the pollution of natural resources--together with a failure to implement environmental policies and an ever-widening gap between rich and poor. During this same period, one religious leader has discerned the signs of the times and called people's attention to our dire ecological and social situation: His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the worldwide leader of the Orthodox Churches. As this new volume of his writings reveals, Patriarch Bartholomew has continually proclaimed the primacy of spiritual values in determining environmental ethics and action. For him, the predicament we face is not primarily ecological but in fact spiritual: The ultimate aim is to see all things in God, and God in all things. On Earth as in Heaven demonstrates just why His All Holiness has been dubbed the "Green Patriarch" by former Vice President Al Gore (recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his environmental activism) and the media. This third and final volume of the spiritual leader's selected writings showcases his statements on environmental degradation, global warming, and climate change. It contains numerous speeches and interviews in various circumstances, including ecological symposia, academic seminars, and regional and international events, over the first twenty years of his ministry. This volume also encompasses a selection of pastoral letters and exhortations--ecclesiastical, ecumenical, and academic--by His All Holiness for occasions such as Easter and Christmas, honorary doctorates, and academic awards. On Earth as in Heaven is a rich collection, essential for religious scholars, those looking for a deeper understanding of Orthodox Christianity, and anyone concerned with the environmental and social issues we face today.

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-4945-9
    Subjects: Environmental Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)

    There is a law of unintended consequences, for when things go wrong; but there should also be a law for unexpected consequences when things happen to go right. While I was International President of the World Wide Fund for Nature in the 1980s, one of our main concerns was how to get it across to the public that there really was a serious threat to the survival of many wild species of plants and animals and to the wild areas that are their habitats. It seemed to me that while books, lectures, newspaper articles, and television programs were essential to...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-22)
    John Chryssavgis

    In the past two decades, the world has witnessed alarming environmental degradation—with climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the pollution of natural resources—and the widening gap between rich and poor, as well as increasing failure to implement environmental policies. During the same decade, one religious leader has discerned the signs of the times and called people’s attention to this ecological and social situation. The worldwide leader of the Orthodox Churches, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has persistently proclaimed the primacy of spiritual values in determining environmental ethics and action.

    No worldwide church leader has been as...

  6. 1 Call to Vigilance and Prayer: Patriarchal Encyclicals for September 1st
    (pp. 23-64)

    This Ecumenical Throne of Orthodoxy—in its responsibility to protect and proclaim the centuries-long spirit of the patristic tradition as well as in its effort faithfully to interpret the eucharistic and liturgical experience of the Orthodox Church—watches with great anxiety the merciless trampling and destruction of the natural environment caused by human beings, with extremely dangerous consequences for the very survival of the natural world created by God. The abuse by contemporary humanity of its privileged position within creation and of the Creator’s order “to have dominion over the earth” (Gen. 1.28) has already led the world to the...

  7. 2 Orthodox Theology and the Environment: General Addresses
    (pp. 65-144)

    Any effort to connect contemporary environmental pursuits to theological presuppositions seems to be a paradoxical and perhaps eccentric venture. In the minds of most, ecology represents a practical and tangible methodology. On the contrary, theology and theological cosmology, even as terminology, are for most people naturally connected to abstract theoretical pursuits. They refer to associations of doctrines and ideologies that are irrelevant to daily life and its problems.

    Contemporary ecology, as a matter of scientific study, but also in the form of crusades and movements for the salvation of our earthly ecosystem, is one of the most characteristic expressions of...

  8. 3 Nature and Cosmos: Beauty and Harmony of Creation
    (pp. 145-157)

    We are deeply grateful for the honor bestowed on us today, an honor that we accept not on behalf of one individual, but on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the entire Holy Orthodox Church in whose rich vineyard we are privileged to labor. We may toil in this vineyard, we may plant seeds here, we may harvest its fruits, but it is God’s vineyard, they are God’s seeds, and it is God’s fruit. All glory, then, is due to Him.

    The company within which we are receiving it increases the joy we feel in accepting this degree. For we...

  9. 4 Ecology and Ethics: Virtues and Values, Responsibility and Justice
    (pp. 158-193)

    It is with much joy and deep satisfaction that we greet the inauguration of this Inter-Orthodox Conference on the protection of the natural environment. The convocation of this conference was a particular desire and hope of our late predecessor, Patriarch Dimitrios of blessed memory, who convened it on the decision of the Holy and Sacred Synod, by means of official Patriarchal Letters inviting their Beatitudes the leaders of the Orthodox Churches to send representatives. The gathering of such representatives at the Orthodox Academy of Crete for this purpose surely already fills the blessed soul of the late Patriarch with joy....

  10. 5 Prayer and Spirituality: Transfiguration and Sacrifice
    (pp. 194-235)

    As far as our most holy Orthodox Church is concerned, we have reasons to be very intensely concerned for the protection of the natural environment. This was demonstrated during the Inter-Orthodox Conference convened, at the initiative of our Throne, last November on the island of Crete, which Your Royal Highness¹ also honored with your personal presence and active participation. These reasons, then, for our concern may be distinguished into two basic categories: There are theological reasons, reasons of faith; and there are also pastoral reasons, reasons of sensitivity toward the world, and to the mission and service of the Church...

  11. 6 Education and Economy: Conservation, Education, and People
    (pp. 236-268)

    By the grace of God, to whom we express our heartfelt gratitude, we are convening this interfaith gathering in this venerable center of Orthodoxy. We are pleased that it is being held within the hospitable environment of this monastery, where our “alma mater,” the Theological School of Halki, once flourished and this year celebrates the 150 th anniversary since its establishment.

    Human beings were created by God to enjoy sovereignty over nature but not to exercise tyranny over it. Many sectors of society have now recognized that the ecological problem is associated with the moral crisis of the humanity and...

  12. 7 “All in the Same Boat”: Intergenerational and Interdisciplinary Solidarity
    (pp. 269-296)

    God created humanity to serve as a king of creation, not for any individualistic exploitation of it that results in destruction, but for the enjoyment of a peaceful and fruitful life in it in harmony with the other creatures, plants, or animals. Nevertheless, we have recently experienced a dangerous development, arising from our senseless and often selfish use of natural recourses. The environment, as it is presented to us today, appears to resemble the “beast” in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 12.4 ), which waits to devour the newly born child of the woman. The only difference is that the...

  13. 8 Interviews and Comments: A Selection
    (pp. 297-334)

    CHARLIE ROSE: Welcome to the broadcast.¹ Tonight, a conversation with one of the most important religious figures in the world. He is His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. He’s the leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians. We spoke in Atlanta during his current visit to the United States. Tomorrow in Washington he meets with President Obama. From the beginning he has been on a mission to modernize the church and make it more relevant. Early on he became identified with environmentalism by incorporating it into his spiritual message. He has preached in the spirit of dialogue and...

  14. 9 Declarations and Statements
    (pp. 335-352)

    We are gathered here today in the spirit of peace for the good of all human beings and for the care of creation.¹ At this moment in history, at the beginning of the third millennium, we are saddened to see the daily suffering of a great number of people from violence, starvation, poverty, and disease. We are also concerned about the negative consequences for humanity and for all creation resulting from the degradation of some basic natural resources such as water, air, and land, brought about by an economic and technological progress that does not recognize and take into account...

  15. Index
    (pp. 353-368)