In his message on the occasion of the beginning of the new church year (Indict) and the Day of Prayer for the Environment, celebrated on September 1, 2023, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople drew attention to the environmental crisis, which is a threat to human rights.
Among other things, Patriarch Bartholomew expressed his support for Ukraine and drew attention to the fact that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to terrible ecological destruction and countless losses to the people and ecosystem of Ukraine.
“… we must also include and appreciate the terrible effects created by the invasion of Russia in Ukraine, which is associated with horrible ecological devastation. Every act of war is also a war against creation inasmuch as it is a grievous threat against the natural environment. The pollution of the atmosphere, of water and earth by bombings, the risk of nuclear holocaust, the emission of dangerous radiation from nuclear plants producing electrical energy, the carcinogenic dust from exploding buildings, the destruction of forests and depletion of arable agricultural property—all these bear witness to the fact that the people and ecosystem of Ukraine have undergone and continue to undergo incalculable losses. We repeat emphatically: The war should cease at once and sincere dialogue should commence,” Patriarch Bartholomew’s message reads.
The patriarch also drew attention to the relevance of issues of ecology and social justice.
The Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the environmental initiatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate find a response not only among the Christian community, but also among representatives of various religions, politicians, scholars, and civic activists. He emphasized that the problem of the environmental crisis is global, requiring joint efforts and mobilization.
The patriarch noted that understanding the relationship between environmental and social problems is critical, especially in the context of the fact that the poorest among us suffer the greatest damage from the destruction of nature. He called for a combination of environmental and social activities to ensure sustainable development and protect human dignity.
The patriarch called for an end to the war and the start of a sincere dialogue. He noted that the Church continues its struggle for the integrity of creation, stressing that caring for nature is not only an additional task of the Church, but also an expression of the Divine Eucharist in the activity of the Church.
Patriarch Bartholomew concluded his message by recalling the legacy of the late Metropolitan John of Pergamon, who developed ecological theology and was a “pioneer” in this matter.
Meanwhile, pro-Russian media present Patriarch Bartholomew’s words as an inclination of Ukraine to capitulate through “dialogue with the Russian Federation.” In fact, this is a false manipulation by pro-Russian propagandists, who, having taken a phrase out of the context of Patriarch Bartholomew’s message, are trying to interpret it in a their hybrid light.
The patriarchal message was not about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but about ecology and environmental protection and was dedicated to the Day of Prayer for the Environment and the beginning of the Indict (September 1). With all that, Patriarch Bartholomew touched on the subject of the invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine, drawing attention to the fact that the Ukrainian people and the environment in Ukraine suffered and continue to suffer due to the actions of the Russian invaders. However, these important lines will not reach the pro-Moscow public.
Spiritual Front of Ukraine