A few Orthodox individuals from different nations will be meeting in Patmos between the 9-17th October, to discuss how to live a sustainable life. As part of this program we are invited to distribute some of our work. Fred Kreuger has decided to distribute this Foreword to one of his books ‘Greening The Orthodox Parish.’ As you will see H. A. H. Bartholomew recognises the difficulty in moving from words to concrete actions in our parishes and is something for us all to be mindful of at this most critical of times in the World’s history.
IT IS WITH PROFOUND JOY AND PATERNAL DELIGHT that we welcome this publication of Greening the Orthodox Parish, which promises to serve as an invaluable and indispensable handbook for Christian ecological practice” in our communities. Moreover, we humbly acknowledge and express our sincere gratitude for its appearance in honor of the 20th anniversary since our election to the Ecumenical Throne of Constantinople. From the outset of our ministry, it has been our hope and prayer that the various ecological initiatives developed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate would result in the parallel creation of green parishes” and green priests” throughout the world. With the grace of God, we have gradually infiltrated the attitudes and influenced the actions of a broad segment of society on an international level gathering and affecting politicians, scientists, theologians, and journalists – as we traveled to critical seas and rivers to discuss the impact of selfish and senseless human behavior on climate change and global warming. Nevertheless, foremost in our mind and heart has always been the transformation of our own church communities and Orthodox faithful, which has ironically proved to be the most difficult task to achieve. This is why we have repeatedly and extensively visited Orthodox Patriarchates and Churches, addressed Orthodox parishes and congregations, and invited Orthodox hierarchs to historical synods and assemblies in order to share with them the inherent Orthodox principles behind all of our environmental activities as Orthodox leaders and responsibilities as human beings. This book is, therefore, precisely what is needed in our parishes to encourage and guide our faithful to understand not only the theological and spiritual vision behind ecological awareness, but also the practical and tangible ways which can realistically and readily be adopted by all Orthodox Christians in larger and smaller parishes alike, in both more comfortable and struggling communities. For the contents of this publication include the theological foundations and perspectives of the natural environment, while also covering a range of crucial topics that would inspire and motivate an effective environmental ministry in parishes. We are thankful to the editor, Mr. Frederick W. Krueger, for his hard work as well as to all those who conceived this project and achieved its realization in manifold ways.
At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, September 1, 2011 +
BARTHOLOMEW Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch