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The Feast of Indiction at the Ecumenical Patriarchate

The Ecumenical Patriarch’s message for the day of prayer for the protection of the natural environment


With great splendor, according to centuries-old ecclesiastical order and tradition, on Wednesday, September 1, the Indiction — the ecclesiastical new year – was celebrated at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, along with the Synaxis in honor of the Most Holy Theotokos of Pammakaristos, the sacred icon of which is kept in the venerable Patriarchal Church. This day has been dedicated since 1989 to prayer for the protection of the natural environment.

In his Message, the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to the recent catastrophic fires that broke out around the world, as well as to the Pandemic, noting the following:

“We pray for the rapid overcoming of the effects of the health crisis and for the enlightenment of governments around the world so that they do not return or persist in operating on the basis of purely economic considerations, in those principles of organization of economic life, production and consumption, and the exploitative exploitation of natural resources, which were in force before the pandemic. A sincere desire of Our Humility is the end of the spread of false scientific views about the supposed danger of the vaccines against the Covid-19 coronavirus, the slander of specialists and the unequivocal degradation of the severity of the disease. Unfortunately, similar positions are being spread regarding climate change, its causes and its devastating consequences. Reality is completely different, and facing it requires responsibility, partnership, coexistence and a common vision.

“It is inconceivable to be inactive when one is aware of the great modern challenges common to the human race. Indifference to the suffering of our fellow human beings and to the destruction of the creation that God pronounced to be ‘very good’ is an insult to God and a disobedience to his commands. ‘Where there is respect for creation and practical love for the “beloved of God,” God is present.”

This morning, the Ecumenical Patriarch presided from the Throne during the Divine Liturgy celebrated at the Patriarchal Church, assisted by the Hierarchs of the Throne, who traveled from every corner of the oikoumene to participate in the Synaxis of the Hierarchy, which meets from this afternoon until Friday night.

Present in the church were His Eminence Archbishop Nektarios of Anthidon, Commissioner of the Holy Sepulcher in Istanbul, the Consul General in the City, the Honorable Mrs. Georgia Sultanopoulou, together with her husband, His Excellency Mr. Ioannis Raptakis, Ambassador of Greece to Great Britain, the Honorable Mr. Oleksandr Gaman, Consul General of Ukraine in the City, the new Archon Protoasikritis, the Honorable Mr. Sotirios Tsiodras, University Professor, Archons Offikialon, clergy, monks and nuns, and faithful from Istanbul, Greece and other countries.

At the end, the established rite of the Indiction was held, in which the Ecumenical Patriarch read the prayer of the blessing of the new Indiction. He then signed the relevant text in the “Codex” of the Great Church, and then all the Metropolitans and Archbishops of the Throne who were present signed in order.

THE TEXT OF THE PATRIARCHAL MESSAGE FOR THE DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT FOLLOWS


† B A R T H O L O M E W

BY THE MERCY OF GOD ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE-NEW ROME AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH

TO THE PLENITUDE OF THE CHURCH

GRACE, PEACE AND MERCY

FROM THE CREATOR, SUSTAINER AND GOVERNOR OF ALL CREATION

OUR LORD, GOD AND SAVIOR JESUS ​​CHRIST

Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

The Feast of Indiction, the official day of prayers for the natural environment, finds humanity again this year facing severe weather due to the onset of climate change, catastrophic floods and fires around the planet, as well as the coronavirus pandemic and its social and economic consequences.

The fact that restrictive measures on travel and the imposition of limits on industrial production have led to a reduction in pollutants and gas emissions has been an additional important lesson in the interrelationship of everything in the world and in the interdependence of all dimensions of life. It was also rediscovered that the ecological initiatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which are an extension of the theology and the liturgical tradition of the Church, go hand in hand with the findings of science and the urging of experts to mobilize for the multifaceted protection of the environment.

We pray for the rapid overcoming of the effects of the health crisis and for the enlightenment of governments around the world so that they do not return or persist in operating on the basis of purely economic considerations, in those principles of organization of economic life, production and consumption, and the exploitative exploitation of natural resources, which were in force before the pandemic. A sincere desire of Our Humility is the end of the spread of false scientific views about the supposed danger of the vaccines against the Covid-19 coronavirus, the slander of specialists and the unequivocal degradation of the severity of the disease. Unfortunately, similar positions are being spread regarding climate change, its causes and its devastating consequences. Reality is completely different, and facing it requires responsibility, partnership, coexistence and a common vision.

It is inconceivable to be inactive when one is aware of the great modern challenges common to the human race. Indifference to the suffering of our fellow human beings and to the destruction of the creation that God pronounced to be “very good” is an insult to God and a disobedience to his commands. “Where there is respect for creation and practical love for the ‘beloved of God,’ God is present.

After the Holy and Great Synod (Crete 2016), the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in accordance with its spirit and its decisions, appointed a formal committee of theologians to draw up a text on the social aspects of our faith and on the social mission and witness of the Orthodox Church to the modern world. This text was published by the Holy and Great Synod and bears the title, For the Life of the World. The community-oriented ethos in the Orthodox Church is appropriately noted in the following: “the Church encourages the faithful to be grateful for—and to accept—the findings of the sciences, even those that might occasionally oblige them to revise their understandings of the history and frame of cosmic reality. The desire for scientific knowledge flows from the same wellspring as faith’s longing to enter ever more deeply into the mystery of God.” (§ 71).

The Great Church of Christ emphasizes the indivisibility of the protection of the natural environment and the philanthropic care for the neighbor. Both the behavior motivated by love for the community and the recognition of the sanctity of the human person are “service after the Liturgy,” vital dimensions of the Eucharistic realization of the Church. The life of the Church is a practical respect for creation and the place and manner of the culture of the person, and of solidarity.

Dear brothers and sisters,

In this difficult time, taking steps to reduce the pandemic is a key pastoral task for the Church. It is also a moral imperative to support the universal access to vaccination against the coronavirus, especially for the poorest peoples, according to the saying we heard on Sunday, “as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40). We must love one another “as Christ also has loved us” (Ephesians 5:2) and become “priests” of creation, guarding and cultivating it with care and affection, mentioning this most precious gift of Divine Grace with thanks to the Creator of all.

In closing, we wholeheartedly wish you all a blessed, healthy and fruitful new ecclesiastical year and we invoke for you through the intercession of Panagia Pammakaristos, the grace and mercy of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory and honor unto the ages of ages. Amen!

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