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 champion of environmental conservation and restoration. He has worked tirelessly and courageously for the re-establishment of the Orthodox Church in Eastern Europe, torn by the religious oppression of communist and totalitarian governments.
In a world where environmental exploitation and pollution have had disastrous global impact, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has been the principle religious leader of international stature to name the environment among his top priorities. He established the universal adoption of September 1st as the “Day of the Protection of the Environment” among all Orthodox Christian Churches.
Most importantly, His All Holiness has focused discussions about the environment on human spirituality. He contends that restoration of the environment is only possible through the reconciliation of human beings with one another and with God. In saying that, “sin against the environment is… sin against God”, His All Holiness demonstrates simply and directly that broken relationships human beings have with one another and with their Creator are at the root of our environmental crisis. Only by restoring justice and mercy to human relationships, and uniting hearts and minds on God’s love for all aspects of His creation, can the brokenness of humanity be healed and the environmental crisis averted.
In all his many environmental initiatives around the world, His All Holiness is a singular, relevant, and honest voice on our environmental, moral, and spiritual crisis. The title, “the Green Patriarch” has been worthily bestowed on him by media and leaders around the world, including former US Vice President Al Gore. As an integral part of his service to the Church and world at large, his upcoming Apostolic and Patriarchal Visit to the United States is a response to today’s global crisis and proclaims a call to balance and moderation.
He will preside over the Religion, Science and the Environment Symposium (RSE) entitled Restoring Balance: The Great Mississippi River. As he has for all his decades of ministry, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Green Patriarch, continues to challenge the world to adopt environmental conservation as a spiritual imperative. While in the United States, His All Holiness will celebrate the tenth anniversary of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America’s ministry to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the Eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the United States.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will also make a variety of pastoral visits to churches and ecclesiastical organizations, and meet with religious and political leaders in New York and Washington, D.C (including the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Majority Leader of the Senate, and the United Nations Secretary General), as he continues his witness to the unity of Orthodox Christians, and issues anew his call to action for religious tolerance and understanding.
Follow His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s visit to the United States online at: www.usvisit2009.org