Eco-theology and Christian Spirituality: The contribution of the “Green” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the protection of the environment and the importance of the Encyclical letter ‘Laudato Si’ by Rev. Dr. Augustinos Bairactaris
Halki Summit V
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There is something in the conference’s title which attracted my attention. It’ s not the importance of the names, nor their prophetic ministry, but it is the small though powerful simple word ‘together’ (insieme). So, no matter of the position we have within the Church, we are together in this world. This is our common vocation and our common call for service toward the ecological issue. We must understand that there is no Muslim river, Protestant forest, Orthodox sea, or Catholic mountain. We are all one and united in this effort, and either all or none will make it, since earth is humans’ common heritage and unique oikos.
Moreover, earth urgently appeals to Christians for cooperation; even the underground of Constantinople full of remnants of byzantine Churches, along with the catacombs of Rome proves their common historical roots. Why do we remain distant from each other, while society asks Churches to take over common actions, to share common visions, to show common love, and to share common Jesus? There is need for tangible environmental engagement deployed at an ecumenical level, necessarily linked with the grassroots of the two sister Churches, inspired and guided by these great Church leaders that this conference is dedicated.
Introduction: Eco-theology and Integrity of creation
In 1949 Aldo Leopold offers in his book entitled A Sand County almanac the following terminology regarding the notion of integrity of creation: ‘A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise… Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. There is no other way for land to survive the impact of mechanized man, or for us to reap from it the esthetic harvest it is capable, under science, of contributing to culture. That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics’.
Integrity of creation was clarified later in 1987 in Glion by the members of the Church and Society Working Group, who stated: ‘It refers to the intrinsic and instrumental value of each creature in its relationship to its environment and to God’. In other terms the notion of integrity of creation is useful because: a) it has given a new perspective to the doctrine of creation and b) it has offered a context of justice and peace. Actually the task of that group was to conceptualise the interaction between theory and praxis in the field of society, technology and environment, finding patterns of sustainable development which would avoid critical threats to the environment. Development is not only to be measured solely in terms of economic growth and statistics. Rather development should be seen relative to the quality of life. Holmes Rolston, a leading figure in the environmental ethics, proposed a combination of biocentric and ecocentric approaches. What matters is not only equality, but also quality. Also, the same working group declared that humans are part of a community of life, which forms a single interrelated system. In that framework, the ecumenical movement through the activities of the World Council of Churches launched a project in 2013 in Busan, based upon the axioms of eco-theology and climate justice.
1. ‘Stewards, not Proprietors of Land’ – Eco-theological thoughts of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew always respected the sanctity of nature along with the freedom of the personhood. However, this human freedom must be connected to responsibility toward creation. He has made important contributions to the development of an ecological magna-Charta, offering an Orthodox witness in the current, modern, world. He constantly encourages the faithful members of religions, and not-faithful too, to behave with gentleness and love to the earth, showing the inner connection between humanity, God and creation. He invites people of good will to participate in his environmental vision, because he believes strongly that all people, regardless of their race, language, culture, or faith, must cooperate in order to secure a safe life of the planet, which must be saved from the abusive actions of humans. In other words, the world is not subjected to human’s desire and interest. This is actually the main message of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who has devoted his life to the protection of creation. What we recognise in his statements is the importance of the community against the importance of the individual. The whole is more important than any part of it, including the human part. In other words, humans are part of nature, although often they are understood as being apart from nature.
His pioneering mind has succeeded in mobilising, environmentally speaking, hundreds of millions of people of the Orthodox Church in at a worldwide level. He criticised the ‘culture of over-consumption’ and also the ‘limitless technological development’, of which have triggered more poverty in the developing countries of the South. Most of the times, the most vulnerable are the poor people who are affected by the pollution of air, land and water. Therefore, it became clear that “economics is a matter of faith and has an impact on human existence and all of creation”. Consequently, poor lands of the South have become the garbage dump of the rich and developed countries of the North.
Moreover, due to eco-theology the Ecumenical Patriarch has managed to give a new perspective in Christian mission and a new hermeneutical context in the gospel. He has publicly spoken about the ecological justice and the integrity of creation, about the rights of nature and the obligation of society to protect its own ‘ecumenical house’.
Earth is our common house, where all religions live under the same roof, but in separate rooms and unfortunately divided. It seems to my eyes that earth invites all of us to overcome the reasons for divisions in order to save the present and the future lifetime of the next generations. All Christians must answer to that call, by building bridges of dialogue, reconciliation and mutual acceptance.
Who are we? What is our identity? Where on earth is Jesus after all? Jesus is in the midst as he promised. However, as long as we keep building walls and fences of self-sufficiency, self-righteousness and idolatry, we shall never manage to be truly, ontologically, alive due to our inhuman way we treat earth and our fellow people. In other words, the environmental task unites us, because apart from our common actions, we should learn from the scratch to pray together in agreement (consenserint) for the protection of the environment. Thus, it is a sign of truthfulness to God each time Christians act and pray together for the well being of the oikoumene and of the whole universe. This attitude actually verifies our identity. So, people must struggle for ecological justice serving God. However, struggle is not merely against others, but also against our self-righteousness of ideals which reinforce collective structures of inhumanity and oppression.
In that framework, the role of the Church leaders is extremely important because they are able to guide and influence the faithful members. Political leadership also has an equally important role to play in these matters, since it is up to politicians to decide what measures to implement. Only political will is able to bring justice and enable poor majorities to have a share in the benefits of development and participation in the decision making process. What then is religions’ role and how could they contribute to tackling this issue? Religions offer the moral values and the spiritual background for these measures. The initial zeal will soon wear off, unless religions provide society with the appropriate moral contribution justifying their right cause.
As it was mentioned above, earth is our common house, in which we are called to live together. However, staying together in the same place is not something easy to achieve. Therefore, Christians must empty themselves of their personal interests adopting the spirituality of communion. Thus, through communication and cooperation Christians can be lead to communion, sharing the same eschatological vision of peace, hope, and love. Christians must be educated spiritually to remain humble in their relationship to earth, respecting the rules and the rights of nature. ‘Humans are made by God to serve as stewards and priests within the created world’ according to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Additionally, he states elsewhere: ‘Mais qu’en est-il des droits de la terre – à laquelle nous participons et en dehors de laquelle nous ne pouvons exister ? Qui parlera au nom des ressources de notre planète qui sont sans voix ? Qui protégera la diversité silencieuse de ses espèces ? Allons-nous accepter la responsabilité de pousser notre environnement vers un point de non-retour?’ In other words protecting the environment is not an option, but an obligation, like a one-way street, where humans must be the voice of the voiceless living species protecting their diversity and their right to exist.
According to Dr. father John Chryssavgis ‘most of the time in Christian theological circles the inner connection between human kind and nature is forgotten. Likewise, most of the time the heavenliness’ origin of humanity is over emphasised, shadowing the earthliness of its existence. Therefore, the global community should stop talking about humanity in an exceptional way, and start talking in a relational way, since human’s uniqueness lies in the fact of their relationship with nature’. Once again Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in 1997 stated emphatically: ‘However, if we do not change within ourselves the attitude of our heart toward our fellow human being from an attitude of indifference or even enmity to an attitude of friendship, co-operation and acceptance, then we will achieve nothing in confrontation of the ecological problems of worldwide interest… All people must be mobilised, otherwise anything that one person tries to build, another tears it down. Addressing such an issue demands an ecumenical dialogue and a wide collaboration in all levels. Science has important things to say on this issue, because it studies and records the actual situation, determines its causes, predicts their effects and recommends measures to address it’.
The eco-theological message of Patriarch Bartholomew, addressed to academic and religious communities, is that humans’ concern for the environment should be the outcome of changing society’s lifestyle. He states: ‘The natural environment offers to people a panoramic view of the world’. Accordingly, people should learn to keep unbroken the environmental covenant between God, humanity and nature.
The ecological crisis is a manifold phenomenon and its roots are cultural, ethical, anthropological and theological. Namely, it is:
- Cultural, because instead of using human creativity and capacities to deepen the meaning of returning creation to its Creator, humans understood it as sole creators of this world.
- Ethical, because instead of orienting human action toward a deeper naturalisation of humanity and humanisation of nature, humans did the opposite.
- Anthropological, because instead of discovering what it means to be part of nature, humans set themselves apart from nature.
- Theological, because instead of seeing creation through God’s eyes, humans objectified nature up to a certain point where they no longer experience nature as gift, but as source for exploitation.
2. From desacralisation of nature to transfiguration according to Christian spirituality
It is beyond truth that modern industrialised and economic culture gives value only to ‘here and now’. On the other side, Bartholomew states that human civilisation should stop the senseless abuse of natural resources and materials, while science and technology represent the employment of the human being’s intellectual superiority for the purpose of discovering ways by which they might derive greatest possible profit. Likewise, development has as a leading force and driving power the value of profit, while it seems the voices of scientists, who warn about the dangers of the ‘green house phenomenon’, threatening earth’s eco-systems, are not taken seriously.
Communities of cities must learn from the indigenous communities how to develop a balanced environmental ethos as an alternative to the modern urban lifestyle. According to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, ‘nature is like an open book easy to be read by anyone of goodwill… Nature is the alphabet of the divine language which people must learn… human needs of peace and silence to listen to creation’s voice’. Every living organism, every plant and animal has their own story to unveil. All these forms of life are so different to each other, but at the same time they are interconnected. That beauty of the world can change the feelings and the way humans treat nature. Having that in mind, people must abandon their arrogant and egoistic manner of abusing creation; instead they must develop a life-code of partnership and co-operation with nature. Peoples’ lungs need oxygen to breathe and remain alive. It is clear that humanity could not survive without nature, since humanity is just a part of the eco-system. The world is not subjected to humans; instead people are invited to live in and with nature, which is their natural house (oikos). The ‘Green’ Patriarch Bartholomew states again: ‘The way we treat material, reflects upon our relationship with God. The sensitivity we are related to earthly things shows clearly the sanctity we share for the spiritual and heavenly things’. Thus, according to the Orthodox spirituality, there is a sacred inter-connectedness between natural life and the sacramental life of the Church. ‘If the land is sacred, then our relationship with nature is mystical and sacred too, since in nature God’s signs can be traced’, claims Ecumenical Patriarch once again.
On the other hand, nature must not be used by theologian scholars as a means of proving God’s existence. Furthermore, according to Daneel ‘the land is the people, the animals, the plants, and the entire earth community – unborn, living, dead. In other words, the land is the totality of known and unknown existence. Human life can flourish within the context of a community of life. Humans live alongside the soil, water, plants and the other animals’.
A new insight was offered by Walter Brueggemann, an Old Testament scholar, who wrote extensively on the so called ‘theology of land’. God does not give land to people; instead He gives people to land in order to care for it and make it flourish; otherwise God’s name is dishonoured. This is the paradigm of the Babylonian exile too, where God exiled the people of Israel, so the land could rest from their sins.
According to Rosemary Reuther, in her work Christianity and Ecology, there are two different theological perspectives which can work complementary to each other. The first type is called covenantal, which originates from the Churches with Protestant biblical background based on the notion of the covenant tradition, and the second type is called sacramental, which derives from the patristic and medieval mysticism, where the term of creation is regarded as sacred, as the place where the divine presence is revealed.
To my understanding, the doctrine of ‘loving your neighbour’ must be expanded to ‘loving your neighbourhood’, which is more inclusive. The neighbour and the nature must be preserved with humility, generosity and solidarity. This message was actually delivered by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in 2005 in Geneva: ‘We must serve our neighbour and preserve our world with both humility and generosity in a perspective of frugality and solidarity alike’. Theological institutes, seminars and faculties should work together sharing information in the field of the eco-theological formation to ministers, youth and congregations.
It is clear that his interest in ecology rests also upon the issue of social and economic justice. Ecology is linked with economy, since both try to regulate society’s life. ‘A Church which neglects to pray for the salvation of the earth, a church which denies to offer food and water to wounded humanity, and similarly a society which mistreats the whole creation of God are equals to blasphemy’. Ten percent of the global population consumes more than 90% of the natural resources! It seems that humans are trapped in economic, social and political systems that ignore nature’s limits. Consequently, the problems of poverty and unemployment in the wider perspective are also linked with the issue of ecological crisis. Bartholomew insists that there is an obligation to promote ecological justice through the development of eco-theology in order to formulate a new ethos and a new life-style based on ecological responsibility. Thus, the global community must urgently renew its conception of life and nature, considering the material world as a divine gift, and regaining a Eucharistic spirit and an ascetic ethos.
Along with the industrial revolution in the West another kind of revolution happened, the consumer one, which represents humans’ preferences and buying habits. Our modern civilisation is marked mainly by our ego-satisfaction in consumption. A typical ethical approach will not solve the problem. Within the community of life freedom is clearly linked to justice and peace. These three terms (integrity – justice – peace) are to be recognised as indispensable dimensions of a contemporary Christian ethic. The ecological crisis is not simply a matter of management and technicalities, but it is a matter of changing our spiritual attitude and our world view. It is a problem which should be addressed through moral formation in combination with praxis. Thus, this praxis is expressed through prayer, reflection and transformation which finally lead to transfiguration of all. The fundamental difficulty lies not outside ecosystem, but inside us, in the human heart. Beginning to see nature as God’s work we realise our own place within nature. A global and at the same time a personal sense of ecological responsibility must be developed towards earthkeeping. Each one of us is called to make a clear distinction between what they want and what they need.
According to professor Conradie the notion of earthkeeping includes the following points:
- Respect of diversity cultures, species, traditions etc.
- Sharing the benefits and the responsibility for preserving the common, global, goods.
- Full participation in the decision – making part for all who are engaged.
- Solidarity, rebuilding relationships especially to those who are voiceless and marginalised.
- Sufficiency, not allowing humans’ greed to abuse the natural resources.
According to the Orthodox understanding the destruction of creation originates from human’s sin. Nature is the victim of human’s limitless consumerism and greed while environmental destruction is equal to suicide, according to Bartholomew. Jesus’ words are clear: ‘Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions’. In other words, the whole of creation suffers and groans (creation has been groaning in labor pains until now), because of human inability to set limits to arrogance. Although the natural world is not itself fallen or disobedient to God, Adam’s sin brought the created order into bondage to death, decay, and corruption.
3. The ecological contribution of the Encyclical Letter ‘Laudato Si’ and of the official document ‘Mission of the Orthodox Church in today’s world’ of the Holy and Great Council
In June 18, 2015, date of the presentation of ‘Laudato Si’, the Pope Francis placed the ecological crisis at the very centre of reflection within the Catholic Church. This encyclical became the bridge of communication between saint Francis of Assisi and another Francis, the pope of Rome. The very famous encyclical letter ‘Laudato Si’ begins with words taken from the ‘Canticle of the Creatures’ of saint Francis, praising God by meditating on the goodness of creation as gift of God. Additionally, the Pope Francis established the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation (every September 1st) for the Catholic Church, in harmony with other Christians. Also, it must be said that after ‘Laudato Si’ presented in Rome, on December 13, 2015 in Paris delegates from 195 countries approved the historic Climate Agreement. As a result of the Paris Agreement and after 23 years and 21 conferences they decided to limit the increase in global mean surface temperature to 2 °C, corresponding a one third cut in of one third of the CO2 emissions. These will reach their peak in 2025 (40 billion tons of CO2, 36 as of today) and will reverse in 2050. From 2021 at least 100 billion dollars per year will be allocated for the transfer of clean technologies from rich countries to poor countries, recognising a differentiation of responsibility between the former and the latter in causing global warming.
The event which actually gave birth to ‘Laudato Si’, was a joint workshop under the title “Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility” of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences on May 2-6, 2014. There, the pope of Rome asked the scientists the following question: ‘What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?’ The answer is simple, but not easy to be implemented: humans should respect earth as part of God’s creation. Therefore, the Pope of Rome focuses on the relationship between God and human kind through the ecological perspective: the earth must be treated as our common home. ‘Care for Our Common Home’ is also the subtitle of the same encyclical. In other words this ecological oriented apostolic letter is actually a spiritual reminder of how people should engage with earth.
So, the phrase ‘our planet being our common home’ is the key-theme of Francis’ ecological teaching, but also it contains the same message of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew delivered in his public presentations. The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church states: ‘Moreover, we should respect the will of God as manifested through creation. Research must take into account ethical and spiritual principles, as well as Christian precepts. Indeed, due respect must be rendered to all of God’s creation in regard to both the way humanity treats and science explores it, in accordance to God’s commandment’.
Both Church leaders Francis and Bartholomew have the same pastoral attitude and they stand in the same line regarding the ecological issue. They both believe in linking directly and indirectly the destruction and over-exploitation of natural resources with pollution, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, and global economic inequality. Climate change is one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day, while on the other hand human activity through its industrial development, the limitless consumerism and greed are the primary reason of earth’s warming phenomenon, declares the pope of Rome Francis.
Laudato Si describes the necessity to tackle the climate change along with the rapid loss of biodiversity. Therefore, a serious reduction in carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases, the development of renewable energy sources and related storage capacity, and a transition to energy efficient methods of production and transportation must take place at a worldwide level. For instance the document recommends a switch from coal and oil to solar and wind power, while at the same time the protection of tropical forests is another area of environmental action.
How beautifully the pope of Rome in his encyclical letter underlines the importance of ‘communiocentrism’, shifting from anthropocentrism and individuality to collectivity. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew points out exactly the same thing, that humans must not be regarded individually over and against nature, but only in relation to the rest of creation. Piero Pasolini used to say something very important: “Everything exists for something else, everything is in relationship. The Gospel revealed to us, that man also advances through relationship. With the principle of mutual love, brought by Jesus, humanity changes, it becomes something else, a new human society’.
Both, Francis and Bartholomew, claim wisely that human is not the master of the universe but the steward, the one who offers his service for the benefit and well-being of creation. As long as humans perceive nature as an object they shall continue to misunderstand the biblical word of ‘dominion’ in book of Genesis as mastering and domination of human kind over nature. However, the original and authentic meaning of dominion is guiding creation toward the Creator in terms of service.
Unless, society adopts an ecological oriented lifestyle, earth’s destruction will not stop. In that framework, an interaction must be deployed between natural systems and social systems, since the ecological problem is quite complicated. On the one hand there is a pure environmental crisis, and on the other hand there is a social crisis, because the communities which mostly suffer from the climate change are those of developing and low-income countries. This situation forces a lot of people to abandon their houses due to ecological degradation, becoming environmental refugees. So, according to the encyclical Laudato Si the most richest and most developed countries must substantially assist the poorest and most vulnerable communities in terms of economy, by establishing methods which could lead to a reduction of emissions and by combating poverty and restoring the lost dignity of these indigenous communities.
Therefore, it is necessary Orthodox and Catholics must have a renewed relationship with the field of ecology. A deep and mutual trust between the two Churches must be built upon the care for our common house, which all people (faithful and not faithful) share. It is important for the two historical Churches to realise that besides the doctrinal issues, which keeps them separated, there is also another path of dialogue which could lead Christianity to organic and environmental unity in via through cooperation on the field of ecology. The perichoretic scheme of unity where all engaged parties keep their own identity remaining united without mixture, modification, absorption, or confusion is again very important. In order to understand the above statement it is crucial to connect successfully the notion of ecology with the doctrine of creation, with the anthropological teaching of the Church fathers, with the doctrine of Jesus’ incarnation and with the sacrament of the Divine Liturgy.
For instance, in liturgy people are reconciled and re-connected to each other, to nature and to ultimately to God. So, the mission of the Church is to reconcile the whole world with God; otherwise if we forget missio Dei, then we neglect God’s plan for the salvation of the world. Furthermore, liturgy offers to community’s an eschatological perspective regarding ecological crisis. In other words the Church attempts through liturgy to renovate the current world into a new cosmos. Chiara spoke too about the need for humans to contribute to earth’s transfiguration into an earthly paradise. In liturgy the Church members pray for a new creation, where all participate equally and sacramentally. Thus, the culture of the ecological reformation should be based on conversion and renewal of people’s mindset. Metanoia(repentance) and reconciliation are the keys to human’s transfiguration, according to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
Another paradigm is the Orthodox teaching about the meaning of ascesis in modern social life as a solution to the current ecological problem. Ascesis means people are able to resist consumerism setting themselves limits by saying enough, no more materialism in our life. Building such kind of a spirituality of resistance against the temptation of consumerism (buying new things all the time) the notions of openness, connectedness, and earthiness should be applied at the ecumenical level.
Openness means the willingness to make room for the other and to open oneself to the action of the Spirit;
Connectedness means the recognition that life is sustained by bonds of community;
Earthiness binds the ecumenical spirituality to the everyday conditions of life at a given time and place.
According to the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church: ‘Orthodox Tradition, shaped by the experience of Christian truths in practice, is the bearer of spirituality and the ascetic ethos, which must especially be encouraged in our time’. In that process of ascesis people learn to sacrifice their own interest for the sake of community identifying in creation the very energy of God.
Hence, ascesis and sharing are actually the two sides of the same coin, reflecting the meaning of Eucharistic gathering, where Jesus in the midst is shared by all. This eucharistic attitude of sharing things is against the human greed. Vera Araujo writes about the ‘culture of giving’, which is actually the first vocation of human kind called ‘homo donator’, whose identity reveals itself in self-giving in all situations and by all means.
According to my understanding a new ecological ‘covenant’ should be approved by all sides. It has been proved that both Churches share the same ecological vision and they have the same concerns and worries about the future situation of earth. Therefore, the Focolarini members having the abundant charism of unity provided by God they could be pioneers toward that aim through their project EcoOne, along with the Chalki Summit conferences which could develop an environmental educational program of studies.
Thus, the earth is calling humans to love each other and through that communication and share to love their home too. While, it is easy to love somebody when all things are going well, in times of crisis, such as it has been the ecological crisis, love is under pressure.
Furthermore, the prophetic ministry of both Church leaders, Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew, is also found in Chiara’s theological mindset. Likewise, Chiara Lubich speaks about the recovery of the original relationship between the person (human) and nature. This means that such kind of relationship is always inter-related between God, human, and nature as well. Hence, the eschatological present calls people to be united in the one ‘God-person-nature relationship’, according to Chiara’s words. The question I leave you with is the following: Are we brothers and sisters in Christ, or not? I believe we are indeed. All that we have heard through the conference shows two things: first we are united in Christ, having the living presence of Jesus among us and second that earth is our common home.
 Aldo Leopold, A Sand County almanac, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1949, p.8.
 Report and Background Papers meeting of the Church and Society Working Group, Glion, Switzerland, September 1987, WCC, Geneva 1987, p.37. See also, Peter Bakken, Joan Gibb Engel & Ronald Engel, Ecology, Justice and Christian Faith – A Critical Guide to the Literature, London: Greenwood Press, 1995.
 Niles Preman, Resisting the threats to life: Covenanting for justice, peace and the integrity of creation, Geneva: WCC, 1998, p.58.
 Andrew Light & Holmes Rolston (ed.), Environmental Ethics –An Anthology, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003, pp.143-153.
 op. cit., Report and Background Papers meeting of the Church and Society Working Group, Glion, Switzerland, September 1987, p.42.
 https://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/central-committee/2009/report- on-public-issues/statement-on-eco-justice-and-ecological-debt.
 K. Raiser, “Spirituality of Resistance”, in Passion for Another World: WCC, Internal Encounter of Churches, Agencies and Other Partners on the World Bank and IMF, Geneva 11- 12/9/2003, WCC, Geneva 2004, p. 6.
 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, John Chryssavgis (ed.), On Earth as in Heaven – Ecological Vision and Initiatives of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, New York: Fordham University Press, 2012, p.275.
 op. cit., Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, John Chryssavgis (ed.), On Earth as in Heaven – Ecological Vision and Initiatives of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, p. 21.
 “Soin de la Création, Justice écologique et éthique – Vers la COP21: La société civile mobilisée pour le climat”, Réflexions du Patriarche Œcuménique Bartholomée, Musée national de Manille, le 26 février 2015, in http://www.ec-patr.org/docdisplay. php?lang=gr&id=2009&tla=gr.
 op. cit., Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, John Chryssavgis (ed.), On Earth as in Heaven – Ecological Vision and Initiatives of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, pp. 271-274.
 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Encountering the Mystery – Understanding Orthodox Christianity Today,Athens: Akritas, 2011, p.117.
 Reuther Rosemary, “Christianity and Ecology: Seeking the well-being of earth and humans”, in Hessel DT & Ruether R. (ed.), Eco-justice at the center of the Church’s mission, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000, pp.603-614.
 L. Fiorani, Z. Roman, V. Falcioni, F. Geremia (ed.), Proceedings: Relationality between environmental awareness and societal challenges, Budapest 27-29 May 2016, p. 44.
 op. cit., Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Encountering the Mystery, p. 119.
 op. cit., Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Encountering the Mystery, p. 118.
 Daneel M., “African Independent Churches face the challenge of environmental ethics”, in Ecotheology. Voices from South and North, Geneva: WCC, 1994, pp.248-263.
 Walter Brueggemann, The Land place as Gift, Promise and Challenge in Biblical Faith, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002, pp.138-140.
 R. Ruether, “Christianity and Ecology: Seeking the well-being of earth and humans”, in D.T. Hessel & R. Ruether (ed.), Eco-justice at the center of the Church’s mission, Harvard University Press, Cambridge 2000, pp. 603-614.
 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, “Statement for the WCC Working Group on Climate Change”, August 2005, in Lukas Andrianos, Jan-Willem Sneep, Guillermo Kerber & Robin Attfield (ed.), Sustainable Alternatives for Poverty Reduction and Eco-Justice, vol.1, Chania: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014, p.18.
 op. cit., Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Encountering the Mystery, p.139.
 See also, Hans Kung, Global responsibility in search for a new world ethic, New York: Crossroad 1991, p.30.
 op. cit., Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Encountering the Mystery, p.150.
 J. Chryssavgis & Br. v. Foltz (ed.), Toward an Ecology of Transfiguration – Orthodox Christian Perspective on Environment, Nature and Creation, Fordham University Press, New York 2013, p. 88.
 K. Ware, “Through the Creation to the creator”, in Ecotheology, 2 (1997), pp. 8-30.
 E. M. Conradie, “The dispute on responsible stewardship as a metaphor for Christian earthkeeping”, in The South African Baptist Journal of Theology, 16 (2007), pp. 173-190.
 op. cit., Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Encountering the Mystery, p.141.
 Luke, 12:15.
 Rom. 8, 22
 op. cit., L. Fiorani, Z. Roman, V. Falcioni, F. Geremia (ed.), Proceedings: Relationality between environmental awareness and societal challenges, Budapest 27-29 May 2016, p.16.
 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Messages and Addresses for the Environment (in Greek Μηνύματα και Ομιλίαι διά το Περιβάλλον), Athens: Fanarion 2002, pp. 341-403.
 https://www.holycouncil.org/mission-orthodox-church-todays-world:‘The Church hopes for the recapitulation of everything in the Body of Christ ‘.
 Vera Araujo, “La cultura del dare”, Nuova Umanità, no. 125 (1999), pp. 489-510.
 op. cit., L. Fiorani, Z. Roman, V. Falcioni, F. Geremia (ed.), Proceedings: Relationality between environmental awareness and societal challenges, Budapest 27-29 May 2016, p. 42.