His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew officially opened today the Eighth Religion, Science and the Environment (RSE) Symposium, entitled "Restoring Balance: The Great Mississippi River," which takes place here for the next five days under his high patronage and includes a large and diverse group of theologians, scientists, policymakers, environmentalists, representatives of business and NGOs, and media.
Roman Catholic Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans welcomed the Ecumenical Patriarch and read a cordial, prayerful and personal message from Pope Benedict XVI in which he conveyed his support and solidarity in the effort of caring and protecting the environment and "the safeguarding of God's creation."
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the global leader of the 300 million-member Orthodox Christian Church, will visit Sts. Constantine and Helen Church in Annapolis next month as part of his sixth visit to the United States.
Styled "The Green Patriarch," the ecologically aware Bartholomew was to arrive in New Orleans on Tuesday to preside over the eighth Religion, Science and the Environment Symposium around the subject of "Restoring Balance: The Great Mississippi River." He is to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the enthronement of Archbishop Demetrios of America as the primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America next week in New York.
"War in the name of religion is war against religion"
The true peacemakers of history not only struggled to reduce conflict among others, they also showed compassion toward people who persecuted them. In recent times, they have included Martin Luther King, Andrei Sakharov, Aung San Suu Kyi, Shimon Peres, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.
A Special Session of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) met on September 25, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., hosted by the Chairman of SCOBA, Archbishop Demetrios of America, at the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in Manhattan. The session was attended by the following Members of SCOBA: Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese), Metropolitan Philip, Vice-Chairman (Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese), Metropolitan Christopher, Secretary (Serbian Orthodox Church), Archbishop Nicolae (Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese), Metropolitan Joseph (Bulgarian Orthodox Church), Metropolitan Jonah (Orthodox Church in America) Archbishop Antony (proxy, Ukrainian Orthodox Church) and Archpriest Alexander Abramov (Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA).
Also present were the General Secretary and members of the SCOBA Study and Planning Commission representing the SCOBA member Churches.
The Ecumenical Patriarch, the 270th successor of the 2,000-year-old Christian Church founded by St. Andrew, will receive a doctorate of laws, honoris causa, at a ceremony to be held at the University Church on Fordham's Rose Hill campus.
"We are honored, of course, to receive the Ecumenical Patriarch here at Fordham," said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. "His All Holiness instructs us in ecumenism and tolerance, in stewardship of the Earth and in fearless defense of faith. Therefore, we welcome Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and look forward to ever-stronger ties between the Orthodox Christian and Catholic churches."