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Message of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the International Conference, “Twenty Years of Chornobyl Catastrophe. A Look to the Future” (23/04/2006).

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To the Esteemed Organizers and Participants of the International Conference, “Twenty Years of Chornobyl Catastrophe. A Look to the Future”: Grace be to you and peace from God.

From the Holy Mother and Great Church of Christ of Constantinople we convey to all of you our paternal salutation and Patriarchal blessing.

The ancient spiritual bonds between Ukraine and the Ecumenical Patriarchate permit and indeed demand a constant mutual interest. Furthermore, we would re-emphasize all that we have declared at other times and in other forums concerning the necessity that the Orthodox Christians of Ukraine should proceed in harmony, and look forward with confidence in their ecclesiastical future and worthy past. Moreover, in line with current demands, that they should work creatively with other Christians and believers of other religious persuasions, toward common actions that signify healing of old wounds, and toward the crystallization and establishment of definite, positive objectives for the noble and glorious Ukrainian People and the wider region.

As we write these things, we also hasten to pay our respects and, with fatherly solace, offer our sympathies upon the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. We offer fervent prayers for the blessed repose of the victims of the awful catastrophe, as well as for the comfort and healing of those who suffer still. And we pray for divine enlightenment for all those who, whether in science, technology, politics, or in other ways are involved with nuclear power.

As is well known, the Ecumenical Patriarchate interprets the Biblical commandments and the Patristic legacy through the prism of current events and needs.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate calls all people – both in and out of season – to be mindful of their responsibility to manage all things relating to the natural environment with greater respect.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate encourages scientific research and blesses all those who work responsibly and within the full realization of their lofty mission, in order to contribute to uncovering and sustaining the potential that God has placed in the material creation for the service of humankind.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate applauds every effort that contributes to the general advancing of humanity in a spiritual fraternity, one which is characterized by mutual respect, justice, and common concern for the peace and security of the whole world.

Therefore, it is in this spirit that we congratulate your organization of this international conference and we extend our greetings to the esteemed participants. We pray for your every success and that your efforts may manifest the bonds that spring from good intentions, the results of reciprocity and mutual consultation.

May the Grace of God and His infinite Mercy, together with our own paternal and Patriarchal blessing and benediction, be with you all.

A.D. 2006, 17 April

Fervent supplicant before God, Bartholomew