WCC message to Bartholomew: The greatest threat to our planet is not the new coronavirus, but climate change

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Mission of orthodoxtimes.com in Karlsruhe

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Karlsruhe, Germany via video message.

In his address, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said that one of the fundamental beliefs and central teachings of Christianity throughout the centuries is the belief that the light of Christ shines brighter than any darkness in our hearts and in our world.

As he said, “We Christians affirm and declare that the joy of the resurrection radiates and prevails over the suffering of the cross. This is what we maintain. That’s what we preach; and this is what we proclaim to the whole world Indeed, “if Christ had not risen from the dead, then our message is meaningless and our faith is vain”.

However, he added, even as we look around us, we are forced to confess that we have not practiced – and continue to fall short of – what we have preached for twenty centuries. “How can we reconcile our magnificent faith with our manifest failure? “, he said.

He also referred to the fundamental difference between the secular and spiritual worldview. As he explained, the person with a secular mentality feels like the center of the universe. On the contrary, the person endowed with a sacred mentality considers that the center of the universe is elsewhere and in others.

There is a need, noted the Ecumenical Patriarch, for cosmic repentance and cosmic resurrection. “What is needed is nothing less than a radical reversal of our perspectives and our practices.

“The blood of the cross” reveals and indicates a way out of our impasses by proposing self-criticism and self-denial as solutions to egocentrism”.

“The greatest threat to our planet is not the new coronavirus but climate change. The growing but neglected toll of rising global temperatures will in fact eclipse the current death toll from all infectious diseases combined if climate change is not limited,” commented the Ecumenical Patriarch.

He also recalled that in the aftermath of the pandemic, even the World Economic Forum has called for “a great reset” of capitalism, arguing that sustainability will only be achieved through drastic lifestyle changes.

“This is what we have described as the need for repentance (or metanoia) from blind habits and destructive practices towards others and in relation to the resources of nature.”

In conclusion, the Ecumenical Patriarch said that if we want to change our priorities and our ways of life, we must do it together – as churches and communities, as societies and nations.

We must “bear one another’s burdens if we are to fulfill the law of Christ.” “And here let us remember the current war and the unjust suffering of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine.

Above all, therefore, we must pledge our repentance and the conversion of our hearts and lives.

Today is “the right opportunity”. The acceptable time and the day of salvation. Now is the time to act for the Lord.

Read below the greetings of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches:

Distinguished organizers and delegates,
Beloved Participants and Stewards of the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches,
Dear friends, brothers and sisters,

One of the fundamental beliefs and central teachings of Christianity throughout the centuries is the belief that the light of Christ shines brighter than any darkness in our hearts and in our world. We Christians affirm and declare that the joy of the resurrection radiates and prevails over the suffering of the cross. This is what we support; that’s what we preach; and this is what we proclaim to the whole world. Indeed, “if Christ had not been raised from the dead, then our message is meaningless and our faith is vain” (1 Cor. 15:14). Surely this is the underlying premise and orientation of the theme of this assembly, which professes that “the love of Christ moves the world towards reconciliation and unity”.

Yet, even as we look around us, we are forced to confess that we have not practiced – and continue to fall short of – what we have preached for twenty centuries. How do we reconcile our magnificent faith with our manifest failure?

The answer can be found in the scriptural passage from this morning’s plenary, which takes place on September 1, a day which Orthodox Christians have dedicated since 1989 to prayer for the protection of the divine gift of creation and on which Christians of all denominations and communions are committed to advancing the ministry of creation care. In the Letter to the Colossians (1, 19-20), we read that: “In Christ all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell and through him to reconcile all things to him, whether in heaven or on earth, making peace through the blood of the cross”.

This passage assumes a fundamental difference between the secular and spiritual worldview. The person with a secular mentality feels that he is the center of the universe. On the contrary, the person endowed with a sacred mentality considers that the center of the universe is elsewhere and in others.

A spiritual worldview suggests an expanded worldview – broader or ecumenical – centered and balanced in Christ as the heart of the universe. This is what provides the source of reconciliation and the assurance of transformation. By viewing the world through this lens of cosmic transfiguration and transformation, we are able to embark – as individuals and as a society – on restoring the broken picture of creation, a process that begins and involves recognizing the responsibility for the sin of ignoring the divine presence. in all things and in all men. The entire universe – all of creation – constitutes a cosmic liturgy. When we are initiated into the mystery of the Resurrection and transformed by the light of the Transfiguration, then we are able to discern and detect the purpose for which God created everyone and everything.

There is a need for cosmic repentance and cosmic resurrection. What is needed is nothing less than a radical reversal of our perspectives and our practices. “The blood of the cross” in the apostolic reference above reveals and points to a way out of our impasses by offering self-criticism and self-sacrifice as solutions to self-centeredness. “The Blood of the Cross” offers a way to take responsibility for our actions and our world. We should all embrace a spirit of humility and appreciate the world as greater than ourselves. We must never reduce our religious life to ourselves and our own interests. We must always remember our vocation to transform all of God’s creation.

Yet the greatest threat to our planet is not the novel coronavirus but climate change. The growing but neglected toll of rising global temperatures will in fact eclipse the current number of deaths from all infectious diseases combined if climate change is not limited. In the aftermath of the pandemic, even the World Economic Forum has called for a “great reset” of capitalism, arguing that sustainability will only be achieved through drastic lifestyle changes. This is what we have described as the need for repentance (or metanoia) from blind habits and destructive practices towards others and in relation to the resources of nature.

Dear brothers and sisters,

If we want to change our priorities and our ways of life, we must do it together – as churches and communities, as societies and nations. We must “bear one another’s burdens if we are to fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). And here let us remember the current war and the unjust suffering of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. Above all, therefore, we must pledge our repentance and the conversion of our hearts and lives. Today is “the good occasion” (Is. 49.8), “the pleasant time and the day of salvation”. “Now is the time to act for the Lord” (Ps. 119.126).

It is our earnest prayer for all of you at the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches on this consecrated day of prayer and care for God’s sacred creation.

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