Ecumenical Patriarch’s encyclical issues call to dwell in harmony with God’s creation

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From the World Council of Churches

01 September 2015

As part of the observation of the Time for Creation, Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, has once again sent an encyclical to remind churches and people of good will about the grave risks deriving from growing abuse of energy resources, threatening to increase global warming and the sustainability of the natural environment.

“We invite everyone to soberness of life, purification of passionate thoughts and selfish motivations, so that we may dwell in harmony with our neighbours and with God’s creation,” said Bartholomew I.

These reflections were shared by the Ecumenical Patriarch on the occasion of the start of a “Time for Creation”, a global event which invokes prayers for creation, eco-justice and peace with the earth. It has been celebrated each year since 1989 from 1 September to 4 October. This year’s event has been promoted by Pope Francis’s recent proclamation of 1 September as the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.”

The Time for Creation was affirmed by the WCC Central Committee in 2008 as an invitation “to observe through prayers and action a special time for creation, its care and stewardship.”

In the encyclical, Bartholomew I stated, “On this day, we especially beseech the supreme God to gladden His creation so that human life therein may be joyful and fruitful. This prayer includes of course the petition that the inevitable natural climate changes may occur and be permitted within tolerable levels both for human survival and for the planet’s sustainability.”

He added, “Nonetheless, we humans – whether as individual groups or collectively – behave contrary to this very request. For we suppress nature in such a manner that unforeseeable and undesirable changes occur to the climate and environment, which are negatively affected in their normal functions with consequent implications for life itself.”