One of the most important figures in the contemporary Orthodox world is the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew. Elected to the post in 1991, he has sought to unite the Orthodox world after the collapse of Communism and in 1993 was able, as the "First Among Equals," to call a meeting of all the heads of all the Orthodox churches. At these meetings theological and social issues were fully explored and among these was the environment. Over the last few decades the ecumenical patriarch has taken a lead in addressing the environment, earning him-
The ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, with Maha Ghosananda, a Buddhist teacher and peace campaigner, and Sikh and Jewish representatives at a multifaith religion and environment conference in Atami, Japan, 1995.
Cherishing God's Creation
The ecumencial patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, has been active in bringing religious leaders from other religions together to address environmental and social issues. He summed up the core of his thinking in this statement, made at a meeting of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation in 2003:
All faiths that cherish God the Creator must cherish His Creation and His image, the human person—and must arise and act in this crisis of the mind and the heart. We must remember the words of Saint John, beloved of our Lord, which we paraphrase: "You cannot say you love God whomyou have not seen, and despoil his Creation which you see every day."
self the title "the green patriarch." He has also sought to strengthen the links with the Catholic Church as well as with other major Christian traditions.
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