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Message of His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch DIMITRIOS I on the day of the Protection of the Environment (September 1, 1990)

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A year has passed since we issued a message declaring the 1st of September of each year as A Day of the Protection of the Environment. In that message, we called upon the Orthodox faithful and, indeed, upon every man and woman of good will, to consider the extent and the seriousness of the problem generated by the senseless abuse of material creation by human beings. On this day, which for the Orthodox Church is the first day of the ecclesiastical year, the Orthodox faithful are called upon to offer prayers to the Creator of all, thanking Him for the good of His creation and beseeching Him to protect it from every evil and destruction.

The message we offered last year continues to echo and to express the inquietude of our Church toward the continuing destruction of the natural environment. For this reason, we consider it expedient, rather than communicating in some other way, to present again today the same message, unabridged, to our faithful and to all men and women, and renew our fervent appeal to all.

Brethren and spiritual children, use the natural environment as its stewards and not as its owners. Acquire an ascetic ethos bearing in mind that everything in the natural world, whether great or small, has its importance for the life of the world, and nothing is useless or contemptible. Regard yourselves as being responsible before God for every creature and treat everything with love and care. Only in this way shall we prevent the threatening destruction of our planet and secure a physical environment where life for the coming generations of humankind will be healthy and happy.

May the Creator of all, in His goodness, be the protector and saviour of His "very good" creation throughout the New Year.