By His All-Holiness
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
On the Visit to the Phanar of Mr. Fokion Vosniakos
And the Participants of the Sustainable Landscape Conference
(June 24, 2012).
|Beloved friends, |
Distinguished conference participants,
It is a great joy and sincere pleasure to welcome you to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the living heart of the worldwide Orthodox Church. You have gathered in this beautiful and historical city in order to explore the critical perspectives of sustainable city planning in such a manner as to protect the landscape of an urban environment and preserve the safety of its citizens.
Your conference is co-sponsored by the Istanbul Technical University and Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul. The university is of course well known for its pioneering research, interests and programs over its long history of over two centuries, with particular emphasis in recent years on engineering and architecture. At the same time, the Mayor of this unique city, the Honorable Dr. Kadir Tobpas, himself an architect, is well known for his interests and achievements in civic cleanliness and sustainability over the last eight years.
We are especially delighted today to welcome among you the honorable Mr. Fokion Vosniakos, who has long assumed an active interest in the promotion of environmental issues, particularly in the region of the Balkans. We congratulate him on the publication of his annual relevant review, which promotes ecological awareness in a significant and crucial part of the world.
Your conference, dear brothers and sisters, touches on a topic that is very dear to our ministry, namely the preservation of a sustainable environment, above all in urban development. Your topic of deliberation is: “Sustainable Landscape: Planning and Safe Environment.” If we are truly concerned about the preservation of our planet’s natural resources, then we must be proactive in planning urban growth. We have all learned the hard way about the fundamental threat that is faced by our natural environment. We know very well how painful and costly the consequences are when we neglect or exploit the ecosystem by promoting unrestrained growth and development.
Therefore, we congratulate you wholeheartedly for the service that you provide to our city and to the world.
May God bless you in your personal and professional lives.