April 20, 2014

Green Patriarch’s U.S. schedule released

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The Ecumenical Patriarchate has launched a new Web site for the visit of Bartholomew I to the United States from Oct. 20 to Nov. 6. The detailed schedule of the patriarch's visit is heavy on meetings with U.S., Greek and United Nations officials. The trip begins on Oct. 20, with the arrival of His All Holiness in New Orleans for the start of the environmental symposium, which runs through Oct. 25. A patriarchal "audience" and meeting with SCOBA hierarchs is scheduled for Oct. 27 at the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in New York. On Oct. 29-30, the patriarch visits the headquarters of the Coca-Cola Co., where he will meet Muhtar Kent, president and chief executive officer. On Nov. 3-4, Patriarch Bartholomew will offer lectures in Washington at John Podesta's liberal-leaning Center for American Progress and the Brookings Institution. Podesta is also arranging a meeting between President Barack Obama and the patriarch, but no exact time has been announced. … [Read more...]

St. Vladimir’s Seminary featured on CNN’s “The Economic Report”

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‘Fuels from Hell’

Rev. Sally Bingham with Obi

Bruce Nolan, a reporter for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, offers a preview of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's symposium at various locales on the Mississippi River next month. For the article, Nolan interviews Rev. Canon Sally Bingham of the Episcopal Church. She is also president of The Regeneration Project and the Interfaith Power and Light campaign. Nolan said that Rev. Bingham was helping with the planning for the symposium. Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders often see environmental concern as a duty to honor God by protecting his creation, Bingham said. Buddhists have described it as a duty to maintain balance in the universe, she said. "Religious leaders are used to saying our responsibility is saving souls. But many have come to realize that if we don’t protect our air, water and resources, there won’t be any souls to save." Bingham said Bartholomew "is one of the first leaders of a huge denomination to make this connection." Rev. Bingham serves as … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: ‘Humans have lost their original humanity’

His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

In an address Tuesday at the University of the Peloponnese in Tripolis, Greece, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said that “a homogenization of humans and peoples is in progress” and underlined that the environmental threat points to “problematic anthropology.” He spoke of an “ecological crisis” and stressed that “the looting of the planet, the burning of the forests and the pollution of the air and water mean that humans have lost their original humanity. People never knew as much as they know today but never before were so catastrophic toward their fellow human beings and nature.” The patriarch also said that the future cannot be entrusted to “extremist technocrats” who see humans as machines and underlined the need for the mobilization of the young generation. He completed his visit to the region that was devastated by wildfires with a symbolic gesture by planting two trees, a sycamore and a fir, characterizing as “criminals targeting humanity” all those who deliberately set … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: Turkish relations improving

Greek Reporter's Anastasios Papapostolou interviews Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I about improving relations with the Turkish government and his upcoming environmental symposium in the United States next month. Greek Reporter: It is a great honor for us to meet you. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: Your visit gives me joy and I am glad we are meeting today. I would like to take a moment to send my regards to all the readers of Greek Reporter and all the members of Greek diaspora. GR: You have planned a visit to the US. Please tell us about your upcoming mission. EP: I will be in the US the last days of October and I will stay until November 10th. I will first visit Mississippi where we will participate at the 8th International Inter-religious Ecological Symposium. This conference was started by the Patriarchate in 1995 and first convened on an island in the Aegean Sea. Subsequent locations included meetings near the Black Sea, Danube River, Adriatic Sea, Baltic Sea, … [Read more...]

Green Patriarch: Human Economy Failing

One would think that, having established a worldwide reputation as the Green Patriarch, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I -- and his advisers -- would approach the writing of a statement on Orthodox Christian stewardship of the environment with a certain gravitas, a sense of responsibility to those in the Church searching for answers on the weighty and complex problem of how to live in this Creation, deeply troubled but still productive and beautiful. One would also hope that these environmental statements from the Phanar would be informed with the sort of intelligence and insights that display some familiarity with environmental science, economics, public policy, the political realities of living in advanced democracies, and the awareness that these problems are often technical and leave ground for well-meaning Orthodox Christians to debate or even disagree on the particulars. This sort of approach to understanding environmental problems does not in any way undermine the … [Read more...]

Archbishop Demetrios’ Encyclical for the Beginning of the Ecclesiastical New Year

Aug 24, 2009 | Protocol 63/09 | September 1, 2009 Day for the Protection of our Natural Environment To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America. Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, We give thanks to God for the beginning of this Ecclesiastical New Year and for His abundant blessings, which fill our hearts with gratitude, deepen our faith, and strengthen our souls. The date of September 1 on our calendars marks the beginning of many things in our lives. For some, it presents the beginning of another academic year filled with worthy goals and challenges. For others, it is the return from summer vacation with refreshed bodies and … [Read more...]

Wild Fires and Church Bells

From the Telegraph: Around 1,000 firefighters and soldiers were able to take advantage of a lull in strong winds that had fanned the blaze for four days to bring some of the areas under control. The high winds were expected to ease further on Tuesday, Greece's National Weather Service said, although the risk of flare-ups remained. The government faced accusations that its handling of the wild fires, which broke out on Friday and swept through suburbs on the capital's northern and eastern flank, was "criminal negligence". Terrified homeowners described how they had begged for help from firefighters and local authorities but were forced to flee their houses when no assistance arrived. Many were reduced to fighting the blazes with garden hoses and even tree branches. But the government defended its handling of the fires, blaming extremely strong winds for their intensity. A spokesman said firefighters' efforts had been "extraordinary" and that it was a tribute to … [Read more...]

Quiet Flows the Mississippi into the Matrix of Mystery

So I'm reading an article in the Wall Street Journal this morning about the Religious Left mounting an "aggressive" ad campaign on environmental issues and come across these lines: The ads, funded by a left-leaning coalition, urge support for congressional legislation to curb greenhouse-gas emissions -- by framing the issue as an urgent matter of Biblical morality. "As our seas rise, crops wither and rivers run dry, God's creation cries out for relief," begins one ad, narrated by an evangelical megachurch pastor. Another opens with a reference to the Gospel of John, slams energy interests for fighting the bill, and concludes: "Please join the faithful in speaking out against the powerful." And I'm thinking, man, where have I heard talk like that? Was it ... no, can't be. Not the language used to describe the agenda of the upcoming symposium on the Mississippi River hosted by Patriarch Bartholomew, the Green Patriarch. That can't be. I checked and found this: Evening … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch releases agenda for Mississippi Symposium

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese released the schedule for Ecumenical Patriarch Batholomew's visit to the United States in October. Separately, a detailed agenda for his upcoming environmental symposium has been posted online. The patriarch's "Symposium VIII -- Restoring Balance: The Great Mississippi River" offers a rare opportunity to present Orthodoxy's distinctive, sacramental understanding of the stewardship of Creation to America and the world. And this trip, which will involve about 200 participants in all, will no doubt generate a huge volume of media attention. We will be following the symposium closely here on the Observer. If the text accompanying the agenda is any indication, the work of the symposium will be heavily inflected by an environmentalist ethic that looks at humanity primarily as a source of pollution and largely ignores the benefits of balanced economic development that does not degrade or abuse Creation. There is the utopian dream of returning the Earth to … [Read more...]

Keep the Human in Humane

Wesley J. Smith

Wesley Smith, occasional commentator on AOI blog published the is article on To the Source. Visit Smith's blog Second Hand Smoke. When Aldous Huxley wrote his prophetic 1932 novel Brave New World, he envisioned a dystopian future in which mankind would become, in the words of bioethicist Leon Kass, "so dehumanized that he doesn't even realize what has been lost." Huxley believed we would evolve into a society steeped in radical hedonism—where drugs would be used to erase every negative emotion and promiscuity would be not just the norm, but the expected. He also saw our future as becoming profoundly utilitarian and eugenic, depicted in his novel by genetically engineered babies being decanted through a cloning-type process rather than being born, a society without families, without the old and sick—who are done away with rather than being cared for—and without real purpose other than experiencing transitory pleasure. It is a world in which human life has been … [Read more...]

The god Called Earth

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Couples who refuse to have children in order to protect the environment, says Steve Robinson, "reject religion and dogma, (yet) their devotion to the earth is indeed a religious devotion very similar to the ancient pagans." In fact, the "eco-fundamentalists has a version of the prosperity gospel… we 'serve the earth god,' name it and don’t claim it, and you get nice stuff and exotic vacations." Robinson continues, "The ecologist and Orthodox Christian agree that the human being is indeed taken from the dirt of the earth and thus shares in the nature of the earth itself. But Christianity says he also is given the breath of God who created the very dirt from whence he came, and so he shares in the nature of the spiritual and is given dominion over the dirt, but not for gluttonous consumption but as a means of expressing love in the image of the one who created all things out of love." Listen to the podcast: " … [Read more...]