World’s Greenest Priest Leads Global Prayer Against Climate Change

September 1st, 2010

By Salvatore Cardoni

The man with the long white beard and longer official title has a simple request for his 200 million followers.

On Wednesday, September 1, His All Holiness, Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch—Patriarch Bartholomew for short—asked the world’s Orthodox Christians to pray for the protection of the environment.

The prayer is just one of an untold number of good deeds Patriarch Bartholomew has undertaken on behalf of the natural world since ascending to the throne of the Eastern Orthodox Church in 1991.

“He was the first to dare broaden the religious concept of sin—beyond individual and social implications—to include environmental abuse,” says Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis, theological advisor to Patriarch Bartholomew on environmental issues, in written answers to questions from TakePart.

Patriarch Bartholomew has talked climate change with countless world leaders, including U.S. Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama. His theological school on the Turkish island of Halki holds environmental training classes for priests from different Orthodox churches. He has a green YouTube channel and Facebook page. His eco-endeavors were captured in a short film, The Green Patriarch.

But a man doesn’t become the greenest spiritual leader on the planet simply by taking his eco-gospel on the road. Not only must he practice what he preaches, his practices must yield tangible environmental results.

Story continues at TakePart

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