Message of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the Day of the Protection of the Environment - September 1, 2008

Encyclical, September 1, 2008

Prot. No. 1091

+ B A R T H O L O M E W
BY THE MERCY OF GOD ARCHBISHOP
OF CONSTANTINOPLE, NEW ROME AND
ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH
TO THE PLENITUDE OF THE CHURCH
GRACE AND PEACE
FROM THE CREATOR OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE
OUR LORD, GOD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST


For creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who subjected it ... For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. (Rom. 8. 20,22)

Beloved Brothers and children in the Lord,

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.

Alexy II congratulates the Georgian Patriarch on the 45th anniversary of his bishopric ministry

Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia congratulated Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia on the 45th anniversary of his bishopric ministry.

"On behalf of the Holy Synod and the entire plenitude of the Russian Orthodox Church please accept heartfelt congratulations on the forty-fifth anniversary of your bishopric consecration," Alexy II's message cited by the Moscow Patriarchate official website reads.

The oldest bishop of Russian Orthodox Church died

On Tuesday, August 26, at 94 years old, died the oldest hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, vicar of Moscow diocese, Archbishop Nikolay Ramensky (Sayama).

Archbishop Nikolay (Sayama Dayroku) was born on November 22, 1914. In
1941, he graduated from the Tokyo Theological Seminary, and in 1954
entered the St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary in the United States. Here
in October 1956, he was consecrated to the diaconate, and in November he
was ordained to the priesthood.

Joint Dialogue Commission Meets to Continue Discussion on Unity

The Joint Dialogue Commission of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America and the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas met at St. George Cathedral in Southfield, Michigan on Tuesday, August 12, 2008. With the blessing of the Hierarchs, and as directed by their respective Congresses, the Commission met to continue its work on the proposal to establish a Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate in North America. Three major topics were discussed: (1) the deliberation and decisions of the respective Congresses; (2) reactions to certain public statements made following the Congresses; and (3) the refinement of the Proposal text.

Following the direction of the Congresses, the Commission made further refinements to the text of the Proposal. This, along with the findings of various working committees appointed by our Hierarchs, will form the basis for expanding discussion on the practical aspects of unity.

Master iconographer Miloje Milinkovic to complete St. Sava

Working on a scaffold that rises toward the chapel's ceiling, his brush strokes play gently in the singular light. Above him, below him - in stunning colors and searing hues - his frescos create a union between the undying past and visions of infinity. Miloje Milinkovic is painting heaven on Earth.

Milinkovic is one of the top Serbo-Byzantanic iconographers working today. His skills as a painter have taken him from monasteries in the Ukraine and Greece, to the largest Serbian churches in Chicago, Detroit and Washington D.C. Yet in 1995, in the midst of working on his grand national projects, he also began a relatively small but incredibly important mission - to turn the very first Serbian Orthodox Church in all of North America into a breathtaking work of art. After 12 years of visiting Jackson, his labors within the dazzling sanctuary of St. Sava are nearly complete.

An Orthodox View of Contemporary Economics, Politics, and Culture

In 1967, following two decades of progressively harsher persecution of religion under communist rule, Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha triumphantly declared his nation to be the first atheist state in history. Hoxha, inspired by China's Cultural revolution, proceeded to confiscate mosques, churches, monasteries, and shrines. Many were immediately razed, others turned into machine shops, warehouses, stables, and movie theaters. Parents were forbidden to give their children religious names. Anyone caught with bibles, icons, or religious objects faced long prison sentences. In the south, where the ethnic Greek population was concentrated, villages named after saints were given secular names. For the religious, a long nightmare of persecution and martyrdom was to follow.