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A Homily of His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the inauguration of the Ecological Shop at Vrysai (19 June 2002)


Most Reverend Metropolitan Irenaeos of Kydonia and Apokotonos,
Beloved and elected People of the Lord,
Beloved sons and daughters in the Lord,

We come from the Fanar, the most sacred and much tried Orthodox Center under heaven, bringing to you the blessed Christians of Vrysai the rich blessing of the Ecumenical Throne.
It is with sincere emotion that we gaze at you, leaders and people, gathered together to welcome your Patriarch, especially because we see you responding as children of the Great and Holy Church of Christ to her natural love and affection with spontaneous emotions of love, reverence and dedication in the person of her Presiding Hierarch, the Patriarch. All this fills our paternal heart with indescribable joy and strengthens us as we journey on the rough path of duty and responsibility.
Our joy is greater still because our visit to your Borough coincides with the inauguration of the shop of the model agricultural company “A. E. Vaphes”. The establishment and the effective operation of cooperatives presupposes communion, brotherhood, sincerity and collaboration and so we wish that your cooperative, which is in fact led by your priest and spiritual father, may contribute to the strengthening of ties amongst you and to the cohesion of your small society, without which no group of people can progress.
The product of your cooperative, the ecological oil, addresses one of the most serious problems of our contemporary world, the ecological one. As is known the Ecumenical Patriarchate became aware in due time of the seriousness of this problem, which threatens the entire world with destruction, and took appropriate initiatives for alerting to it the international community.
In the field of agricultural products the irrational use of fertilizers and pesticides puts at serious risk the health of human beings and therefore necessitates the return to ecological farming, which will provide an alternative and saving solution to the contemporary consumer.
We congratulate, therefore, those who had this highly commendable initiative to establish a cooperative agency and we wish full success to its aims. At the same time we urge you to be always united not only in this cooperative effort, but also in the service of the Church of Christ in faith and love at any cost or sacrifice. May God grant you health and richly bless your work. Amen.