Statements

Statement by The Green Patriarch    

 

His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has persistently proclaimed the primacy of spiritual values in determining environmental thoughts and action. His endeavors have earned him the title “The Green Patriarch.”… At Santa Barbara in November 1997, he declared:

 

To commit a crime against the natural world is a sin. For human beings to cause species to become extinct and to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests, or by destroying its wetlands; for human beings to injure other human beings with disease by contaminating the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life, with poisonous substances – all of these are sins.

 

The environment is not only a political or a technological issue; it is, as Patriarch Bartholomew likes to underline, primarily a religious and spiritual issue. Patriarch Bartholomew invariably relates the environment to a familiar aspect of Orthodox spirituality, namely to the icons that decorate Orthodox churches. Symbols are important in Orthodox thought, worship and life. Creation itself is likened to an icon, just as the human person is created ‘in the image and likeness of God’ (Gen. 1.26 and Col. 1.15). The Patriarch invites people to contemplate the Creator God through the icon of the created world (Col. 1.16-18). In the same vein, Patriarch Bartholomew refers to the human beings as endowed by God to serve as ‘priests’, underlining that personal responsibility for the physical world and the slightest action of even the feeblest among us can change the world for the better.

 

– The Reverend Archdeacon John Chryssavgis, Theological Advisor on Environmental Issues, The Ecumenical Patriarchate1

 

Statements from Church Leaders and Assemblies: 
 

 

Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew Joint Message on the World Day of Prayer for Creation (September 1, 2017)

… The human environment and natural environment are deteriorating together, and this deterioration of the planet weighs upon the most vulnerable of its people. The impact of climate change affects, first and foremost, those who live in poverty in every corner of the globe. Our obligation to use the earth’s goods responsibly implies the recognition of and respect for all people and all living creatures. The urgent call and challenge to care for creation are an invitation for all of humanity to work toward sustainable and integral development.

… On this occasion, we wish to offer thanks to the loving Creator for the noble gift of creation and to pledge commitment to its care and preservation for the sake of future generations. After all, we know that we labor in vain if the Lord is not by our side (cf. Ps. 126-127), if prayer is not at the center of our reflection and celebration. Indeed, an objective of our prayer is to change the way we perceive the world in order to change the way we relate to the world. The goal of our promise is to be courageous in embracing greater simplicity and solidarity in our lives.

We urgently appeal to those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized, but above all to respond to the plea of millions and support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation. We are convinced that there can be no sincere and enduring resolution to the challenge of the ecological crisis and climate change unless the response is concerted and collective, unless the responsibility is shared and accountable, unless we give priority to solidarity and service.2

 

 

 

 

 

Statement on Creation Care by the World Evangelical Alliance

 

Established in 1846, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is a network of national evangelical church alliances in 129 countries and over a 100 international evangelical organizations. The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) provides a worldwide identity, voice, and platform to more than 600 million evangelical Christians. At the 2008 WEA General Assembly in Thailand the globally gathered evangelical community ratified the WEA Statement on the Care of Creation.  This statement represents the WEA’s core beliefs about creation care. It concludes:

We recall Jesus’ words that our lives do not consist in the abundance of our possessions, and therefore we urge followers of Jesus to resist the allure of wastefulness and overconsumption by making personal lifestyle choices that express humility, forbearance, self restraint and frugality, and stand alongside all who suffer as a result of environmental degradation.

In Christ, the presence of the kingdom of God is marked not only by renewed fellowship with God, but also by renewed harmony and justice between people, and by renewed harmony and justice between people and the rest of the created world.

Therefore we call upon all Christians to reaffirm that all creation is God’s; that God created it good; and that God is renewing it in Christ.

We also call upon Christians to listen to and work with all those who are concerned about the healing of creation with an eagerness both to learn from them and also to share with them our conviction that the God whom all people sense in creation is known fully only in the Word made flesh in Christ the living God who made and sustains all things.

We make this declaration knowing that until Christ returns to reconcile all things, we are called to be faithful stewards of God’s good garden, our earthly home.3

 

 

Endnotes

[1]Patriarch Bartholomew is the leader of over 300 million Orthodox Christians. Shortly after his election in 1991 he convened all Orthodox church leaders to discuss the severity of the environmental crisis. He has held many high-level seminars, Symposia and Summits and has been honored with numerous awards. See more here.

[2]From the Vatican and from the Phanar, 1 September 2017

[3]In 2019 the WEA Creation Care Task Force, formed in 2012, and Lausanne Creation Care joined together to co-lead one unified creation care network called the Lausanne/WEA Creation Care Network (LWCCN) and launched the WEA Sustainability Center (WEASC) in the strategic “UN City” of Bonn, Germany.

 
 

 

“For the Life of the World: Toward a Social Ethos of the Orthodox Church”
Orthodox Christian Church
Commissioned and endorsed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate
(January 18, 2020)

Kairos for Creation: Confessing Hope for the Earth - The Wuppertal Call
World Council of Churches
(June 25, 2019)

“Catholic Principles and Environmental Policy”
Statement from Washington State’s Bishops
(October 4, 2018)

Message of His All Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew, for the Day of Prayer for the Protection of the Environment
(September 1, 2018)

Joint Message of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the World Day of Prayer for Creation
(September 1, 2017)

Kanyakumary Declaration
National Workshop on “Sustainable Values for a Green Church”
Organized by the Church of South India Department of Ecological Concerns
Kanyakumary, Tamil Nadu, India
(July 19-20, 2017)

17th Asia-Oceania Meeting of Religious (AMOR XVII) Final Statement
Conference theme: “A Call for Global Ecological Conversion”
Yangon, Myanmar
(February 27 – March 3, 2017)

Final Statement of the Workshop on The Human Right to Water
Pontifical Academy of Sciences
(February 23-24, 2017)

“Resolution Urging Stewardship of the Gift of Water”
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
(August 12, 2016)
Learn more here.

Affirmation of Creation
222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA
(June 22, 2016)

The Power of Memory: Chernobyl Thirty Years Later
Message of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
(April 26, 2016)

“Comprehensiveness and the Middle Way: Anglican Perspectives on Religion and Ecology”
By The Most Reverend Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop, The Episcopal Church
August 12, 2015

Laudato Si’- “On Care For Our Common Home”
Encyclical of Pope Francis
(May 24, 2015)

Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to the European Parliament and to the Council of Europe
(November 25, 2014)

Pope Sends Message to Brazilian Ecological Group
(September 11, 2014)
Learn more here.

“Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace”
Message of His Holiness Francis for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace
(January 1, 2014)

“Environmental Stewardship and Conservation”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
(November 7, 2013)

“Building a New Culture – Central Themes in Recent Church Teaching on the Environment”
Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
(January 28, 2013)

“Encyclical of His All-Holiness for the Church New Year”
By Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I
(September 1, 2012)

“Heaven and Earth are Full of Your Glory”
Joint statement of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the United Methodist Church (UMC)
(Earth Day 2012)

“Healing a Broken World”
Promotio Iustitiae n° 106
Report of the Task Force on Jesuit Mission and Ecology
(2011)

“Charity in Truth (Caritas In Veritate)”
Summary of Encyclical, by John Hart
Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI
(June 29, 2009)

“United Church of Santa Fe Whole Earth Covenant”
(June 21, 2009)

“The Integrity of Creation and the Athabasca Oil Sands”
Pastoral Letter from Luc Bouchard, Bishop of St. Paul in Alberta, Canada
(January 25, 2009)

“Our Relationship with the Environment: The Need for Conversion”
Pastoral letter from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Commission for Social Affairs
(2008)

“Upholding the Sanctity of Life”
Pastoral Letter from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
(December 10, 2008)
Learn more here.

“The Human Family, A Community of Peace”
Message From His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI: World Day of Peace
(January 1, 2008)

“Eco-Spirituality & Action Minute”
Quaker New York Yearly Meeting
(July 27, 2007)

“The Human Person, The Heart of Peace”
Message From His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
(January 1, 2007)

“You love all that exists…all things are Yours, God, lover of life”
Pastoral Letter on the Christian Ecological Imperative,
Social Affairs Commission,
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
(October 4, 2003)

“Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice”
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
(August 28, 1993)

“What Is Happening To Our Beautiful Land”
A Pastoral Letter on Ecology
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
(January 29, 1988)

The Assisi Declarations: Messages on Humanity and Nature from Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam & Judaism
Alliance of Religions and Conservation
(September 29, 1986)

 

Moravian Church Statement on Stewardship and Caring for Creation

 

 

Header photo: Thomas Berry and Dean James Morton at the Earth Mass at Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City; ©Gretchen McHugh, Courtesy of J. Murray McHugh