|The Danube is a river of life. So we proclaimed during our international, inter-religious and inter-disciplinary symposium in 1999. So we continue to affirm today.|
The Danube is a river connecting peoples with different histories and religious faiths. In October 1999, we were privileged to travel the entire length of the Danube with other religious leaders, scientists and journalists to examine the issues of common concern, to explore the connections between religion, science and the environment, and to propose joint solutions to critical issues.
The profound beauty and immense diversity of the Danube was immediately apparent during that voyage, but – alas – so also was the damage wrought by human activity through pollution and numerous other factors. Nevertheless, we were deeply moved on this journey, as well as on other visits to the region, by the strong commitment and common will to ensure that this great river remains for many generations a river of life. We owe this to our Creator, the source of all life in our world. We owe it to the creation, as the tangible expression of divine love. We especially owe it to our children, and to our children’s children, as a legacy of concern and care.
On the occasion of the Danube Day, we offer our sincere encouragement for the efforts to celebrate this great river and our paternal support for the work that is underway to manage it in a way that ensures that the Danube is preserved healthy. It is the responsibility of us all.
To the peoples of the Danube, we wish you a successful Danube Day and every possible success in the efforts to nurture and nourish this great river.
At the Patriarchate,
The Danube Day, 29 June 2004
Your fervent supplicant before God,
Archbishop of Constantinople,
New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch