Patriarch Bartholomew and ecology

Every Sunday, as you know, we recite the Creed, which is a statement about what we believe as Orthodox Christians. And in the Creed, we confess our faith in God the Creator of all things visible and invisible. We believe that God created the whole universe, including people and the planet. This means that the environment is a gift from God, given to us to worship Him and protect for the whole world.

Here is some simple advice for all of you to connect with and respect the natural environment:

  • Try to spend time outside, learning to love and admire the beauty of nature. In Finland, you are blessed to have such spectacular forests and lakes.
  • Try to make your home “green” by saving electricity, wasting less, and recycling as much as you can.
  • Read about the environment. Learn especially about the sacred aspect of the world and the scientific knowledge about ecology.
  • Talk about the environment. Raise money for environmental causes in your parish and community.

Here are some things that I try to do for the environment:

  • I enjoy walking instead of driving, if possible. In this way, I try to remember how much I affect the environment and do what I can to avoid pollution.
    • I enjoy planting trees and caring for animals at the Monastery of Halki, where I go regularly to spend time in silence and prayer.
    • And I also remember how fasting is important for the resources of our environment, which we should share with others, especially with the poor people in our world that do not have enough food or clean water. This is something you should try hard to do during Great Lent.

My beloved children in the blessed Church of Finland, you are in a unique position to care for the environment in a better way than your parents and grandparents. All of us have a lot to learn from you and from the way you love the wonderful gift of God’s creation. Never stop loving nature. And never stop loving its Creator.