Twenty-eight years ago, the first day of the Ecclesiastical Year (Indiction) was established as World Day of Prayer for the Protection of Creation.
In 1989, in a patriarchal encyclical the Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrius I invited all Christians to pray for the protection of the environment. This encyclical issued on the first day of the Ecclesiastical Year has officially proclaimed September 1 as a day in which we all should offer prayers for the protection of all creation.
Patriarch Daniel of Romania repeatedly urged for a responsible management of the gifts received from God.
Our many sins, being a pollution to the soul, often causes a pollution of the creation. There is a tie between the sinful soul and the nature desecrated by the greedy desiring enrichment, who take no responsibility for the gifts received from God to cultivate them and transmit them to future generations.
In his article Creation as a gift and the Holy Mysteries of the Church (1976), Rev. Dumitru Staniloae reflected on the divine revelation noting that everything that exists is a gift of God for humans and that the entire creation represents a Holy Mystery, an instrument of God’s power and love.
Our attitude towards nature as towards God’s gift means to remain in a close tie with God, its Giver. One who values the gift values much more the Giver as a loving Person, and His love likewise.
However, the power to observe God’s love through the creation and to remain in this love, i.e. in connection with God, was re-established in us by Christ. In this regard, there is no separation between Christ and the creation, but Christ rather reveals the creation’s character of a gift.
In his message issued this year, His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, also known as the Green Patriarch, stresses that believers are meant to be priests or stewards of the creation and points to the fact that respect for creation lays at the very core of the Orthodox tradition. His Holiness urged everyone to change his or her attitude towards creation.
We call upon all people of good will to undertake the good struggle for the protection of the natural environment and the establishment of solidarity. May the Lord and giver of all good things, through the intercessions of the all-blessed Mother of God, grant all of you “a burning within your hearts for all creation” and “a stirring of love and good works.” (Hebrews 10.24).
Foto credit theimaginativeconservative.org