It is intended for theologians of different denominations, teachers and students of religious schools, pastors, catechists, and teachers of Christian ethics, as well as anyone interested in the Church’s environmental mission and who seek to know and fulfill his vocation more deeply – to be a good pastor.
During the development of the ecological crisis, when the consequences of environmental problems more and more often remind of themselves, and the efforts of state and public organizations do not help much, the Church did not stand aside. According to Christian teaching, all mankind is responsible for the state of nature – the Creation of God. The depletion of resources and environmental pollution against the background of the growing population of the planet with particular urgency raises the question of the solidarity efforts of all people to preserve the diversity of life, the rational use of natural resources, and the prevention of cataclysms, provoked, in the first place, by human activity. Responsibility for the correct attitude to God’s creation – nature lies with the Christian world since Christians should be an example for all mankind in any good deed. The Church does not remain on the edge of environmental issues and has a number of adopted documents, which the compilers tried to put together in this collection.
The main provisions of the position of the Russian Orthodox Church on the responsible attitude of man to the Creation of God are contained in the Fundamentals of Social Concept, section XIII “Church and environmental problems” and “Fundamentals of the doctrine of dignity, freedom and human rights” in section III.5.
Fundamentals of the social concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, a document that sets out the basic provisions of its teaching on church-state relations and on a number of modern socially significant problems. The document also reflects the official position of the Moscow Patriarchate in the field of relations with the state and secular society. In addition, it lays down a number of guidelines that are applied in this area by the episcopate, clergy, and laity. The document was adopted by the Holy Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000.
Section XIII: “The Church and Ecological Problems” of this concept characterize the teaching of the Church about the attitude of man and society to the nature around us, as to God’s Creation. In addition, the document “Fundamentals of the Ecological Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church” has been prepared. The initial draft of this document was compiled by the commission of the Inter-Council Presence on issues of interaction between the Church, state, and society, and then was revised by the editorial committee of the Inter-Council Presence, chaired by the Patriarch. Guided by the commandment of God to protect the created world (Gen. 2, 15) and caring for the spiritual and physical health of man, the Russian Orthodox Church considers its duty to continue to participate in the discussion of environmental issues, as well as to work in this field in collaboration with everyone who is concerned about the state of the environment surrounding. Also, the compilers considered that it is necessary to include the Epistles of Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, who does not ignore the topic of environmental protection, focusing on the “moral and spiritual causes of the ecological crisis” for the days of the Church New Year 2008, 2009, 2014.
As you know, on the initiative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, recently supported by the Roman Catholic Church, every year the first day of September is dedicated to a prayer for the protection of the environment. In it, Christians ask the Almighty to rejoice in His creation, in the joy and fruitfulness of which the life of mankind would flow. Naturally, this prayer also includes a petition to limit the process of inevitable natural and climatic changes to an acceptable level, which will ensure the maintenance of the viability of nature and the survival of mankind.
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Orthodox Ecological Theology and Environmental Protection. A. Bokotei, M. Bilanich, ed. Rene Matlovich. – Uzhgorod, 2016. “Carpathian Tower”, – 76 p.