August 30, 2014

The Patriarch, the Environment and the Enlightenment

His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew recently published an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal (“Our Indivisible Environment,” 26 October 2009) in which he argues that “just as God is indivisible, so too is our global environment.”  He asserts that as the “molecules of water that comprise the great North Atlantic are neither European nor American” so too the “particles of atmosphere above the United Kingdom are neither Labour nor Tory.” On the surface, his words reflect a cultural and intellectual tradition with deep roots in classical, pre-Christian Greek thought (especially Aristotle) as well as Holy Scripture and the teachings of the fathers of the Church (East and West). His observations also owe much to Scholasticism, those Medieval Catholic scholars wrestled who the relationship between Greek philosophy and Christian faith, as well as the relationship of Christian faith to Judaism and Islam.  To his credit, the Patriarch is also in a discussion with … [Read more...]

A Patriarch who ‘Generally Speaking, Respects Human Life’

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By John Couretas Reading Andrew Estocin's fine essay, "Constantinople's Moral Oversight," I was reminded once again of the long running institutional silence -- a scandal really -- from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese on sanctity of life issues. But that attitude of indifference comes down from the top -- the Phanar. Here is a direct quotation from a July 20, 1990, article, "SF Shows Off Its Ecumenical Spirit," in the San Francisco Chronicle. Metropolitan Bartholomais of Chalcedon is the current Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Asked the Orthodox church's position on abortion, Bartholomais described a stand more liberal than that of the Roman Catholic Church, which condemns abortion in all cases and whose clergy have, in some cities, excommunicated leading pro-choice Catholics. Although the Orthodox church believes the soul enters the body at conception and, ''generally speaking, respects human life and the continuation of pregnancy,'' Bartholomais said, the church also … [Read more...]

A Changeless Faith for a Changing World

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Green Patriarch: “… absolute limits to our survival are being reached”

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His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew lost no time ringing the alarmist bell as he officially opened the symposium, “Restoring Balance: The Great Mississippi River” today. He said that, “we have reached a defining moment in our history … the point where absolute limits to our survival are being reached ... instead of living on income, or the available surplus of the earth, we are consuming environmental capital and destroying its resources as if there is no tomorrow.” (Full text below.) Really? No one disputes that we have a responsibility towards the environment and the EP has garnered justifiable praise for leadership in environmental stewardship. Yet His All Holiness increasingly approaches environmental care using the playbook of Progressive environmental activism. The alarmist tone is one example. So are the ostensible "facts" justifying the alarm: We have lost half of the great forests of the world to the demand for timber and for conversion to … [Read more...]

The Ecupatriarch on Twitter

Yes, the Ecupatriarch (ugh). The rebranding continues. Follow his tweets here. Live feed to the conference here. Here are a couple paragraphs from the patriarch's opening address yesterday. This is the sort of thing you get from a mediocre political speech: lots of significant-sounding phraseology, appeals to our higher nature, even our spiritual longings, but in the end you're left asking: Where is he going with this? We're all responsible for the "future of the planet"? What? By criticizing the wealthy West, again, and denigrating technology, we know there is an agenda here but, outside of the previous endorsement of the UN's climate change plan, it is only hinted at. Whoever is writing this stuff for the patriarch should be caned. Preferably with one of those bishop's canes with the heavy silver knob on the end of it. Having struggled for centuries to escape from the tyranny of hunger, disease, and want, the technological advances of the last half century have … [Read more...]

The Green Patriarch has landed

A Patriotic Welcome

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew arrives at New Orleans' Louis Armstrong Airport on October 20, 2009. He's here for the RSE Symposium on the Mississippi. (HT on the video to Byzantine, TX) [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ6D80H-HTU[/youtube] … [Read more...]

Thinking about the bulletin insert on the Green Patriarch’s visit…

Pardon my skepticism but does anyone else find the effusive praise in the handout to Greek Orthodox parishioners last Sunday overbearing? The author tries so hard to convince us of Patriarch Bartholomew’s stratospheric virtues that the entire piece has an “Our Dear Leader” feel to it. It reads, I am sad to say, like propaganda. Strong words? Yes, but only because the endless strings of ebullient praise muddles other very important points. While Pat. Bartholomew’s stand on the protection of the environment should be applauded, and while he has done much to raise awareness that environmental care is an issue to which Christians can contribute, it does not follow that all of his actions surrounding “creation care” (as some of the participants in the Mississippi River Symposium refer to it) are sound. For example, as part of Pat. Bartholomew’s environmental program in the United States later this month, he plans a visit to Georgetown University to deliver a talk co-sponsored by … [Read more...]

Green Patriach ‘continues his witness to the unity of Orthodox Christians’

From the bulletin insert provide by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese for the Green Patriarch's visit to the United State later this month: His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew ascended to the Apostolic and First Throne of the Orthodox Christian World on November 2, 1991. Since becoming the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, he has engaged all Orthodox Christians and the world’s diverse religious communities, policy makers and cultural leaders, with his message of peace, reconciliation, restoration, and renewed hope. As the Ecumenical Patriarch, a purely spiritual leader, he transcends national, cultural and ethnic divisions. For the world’s 250 million Orthodox Christians, he is the convener and visible sign of unity of the worldwide Orthodox Christian Church. In his role as Ecumenical Patriarch, His All Holiness Bartholomew serves as a global peacemaker and bridge builder, a tireless advocate of religious freedom and tolerance, and a … [Read more...]

Table for one?

Over at Ad Orientem, John wonders about the Green Patriarch's pending trip (HT: George M.) By my count H.A.H.'s itinerary includes... 6 liturgical functions + 1 prayer service at the UN 8 functions at which he will be honored or given some form of award 3 excursions that appear to be mainly sight seeing 2 functions where he will be speaking but do not appear to be aimed at honoring the EP and... 24 dinners, or private receptions in his honor with VIPs (excluding private meetings with Orthodox clergy). Many of these dinners and receptions will be taking place in 5 star establishments such as the Waldorf Astoria where H.A.H will be staying for much of his visit. I am very glad to see that His All Holiness will be fed decently during his visit. Still I wonder... … [Read more...]

Green Patriarch on YouTube

Clips from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's various environmental symposia are now on YouTube. This first video is from the patriarch's address in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1997 which, the accompanying text says, "was the first time any religious leader had ever called harming the environment a sin." The second video is from former Vice President Al Gore's welcome in Washington during the same 1997 visit. See more videos here. … [Read more...]

WWF: ‘Green Patriarch’ backs strong Copenhagen agreement

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From the WWF (formerly known as the World Wildlife Fund): Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, nicknamed the ‘Green Patriarch’ for his longtime support of environmental issues, is calling on political leaders participating in climate change talks this week in Bangkok to agree on strong and fair measures to mitigate climate change in advance of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen this December. Bartholomew is among a growing number of religious leaders from various denominations weaving environmental awareness into their teachings and activities. Last year, more than 400 mosques in Malaysia held sermons focused on turtle conservation issues to discuss the need for better wildlife protection in that country ... Demetres Karavellas, CEO of WWF-Greece welcomed the Patriarch's statement, saying: “The call for strong political commitment against climate change by the leading Primate of the Orthodox Church is a very clear message. It is time for world leaders to … [Read more...]

Green Patriarch backs UN climate change framework

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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I weighs in on the Bangkok Climate Change conference where delegates were greeted with “stern pep talks": Istanbul, Turkey, 9/28/2009 In view of the international negotiations on climate change commencing in Bangkok, Thailand, and only two months before the crucial United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, we urge the international community to undertake courageous commitments for the prevention of the most severe consequences of global warming. The accomplishment of a good agreement within the framework of the international negotiations in Copenhagen does not solely constitute a moral imperative for the conservation of God's creation. It is also a route for economic and social sustainability. Taking action against climate change should not be understood as a financial burden, but as an important opportunity for a healthier planet, to the benefit of all humanity and particularly of those states whose economic development is … [Read more...]