Monday, 1 September 2008

Today is creation day and the beginning of the church year in many Orthodx churches

In February the WCC, “Urged member churches to observe through prayers and action a special time for creation, its care and stewardship, starting on September 1st every year”. The Ecumenical Patriarchate had called, on 1 September 1989, to observe September 1st (the beginning of the liturgical year in the Orthodox Church) as creation day. This call was reiterated by the Third European Ecumenical Assembly, meeting in Romania in September 2007 - you can find an anthology of resources for creation time from the Conference for European Churches here; you can download a booklet of images and mediaitons by the late Lukas Vischer and Barbara Robra here.
This morning in the ecumenical centre Fathers Mikael Gundyaev and Jean Reneteau led Orthodox matins for creation, ending with the blessing of fruit for our communal breakfast.
You can learn more abot the Patriarchate's ecological activities here and the Patriarch's 1st September addresses can be found here. This year's begins:
Once again, as the ecclesiastical year begins, we are called to reflect – with renewed spiritual intensity in Christ and especial sensitivity – on the state of our bountiful planet, and to offer particular prayers for the protection of the whole natural world.

The Patriarch puts especial emphasis on cooperation between science and religion:

The collaboration of science and religion ... in different regions of the planet, seeks to contribute to the development of an environmental ethic, which must underline that the use of the world and the enjoyment of material goods must be Eucharistic, accompanied by doxology toward God; by the same token, the abuse of the world and participation therein without reference to God is sinful both before the Creator and before humanity as creation.