In the past decade the world has witnessed alarming environmental degradation (negative climate change, loss of biodiversity, the pollution of natural resources) and a continued failure to implement meaningful environmental policies. During the same decade, one religious leader has discerned the signs of the times, calling attention to the growing ecological crises — Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the worldwide leader of the Orthodox churches. At the same time, the "Green Patriarch," as he is known, has persistently proclaimed the primacy of spiritual values in determining proper environmental ethics and action.
No other church leader has been more recognized throughout the world than Patriarch Bartholomew for his dynamic initiative in addressing the theological, ethical, and practical imperatives behind today's critical environmental issues. Patriarch Bartholomew has long placed the environment at the head of his church's agenda, personally developing ecological programs, chairing pan-Orthodox meetings and international symposia, organizing environmental seminars, and issuing official statements on the church's responsibility toward the natural world.
"Cosmic Grace, Humble Prayer" presents for the first time the powerful ecological vision of Patriarch Bartholomew, drawing together a comprehensive collection of his church statements and occasional addresses, some available in English only here. Editor John Chryssavgis has organized these pieces chronologically and thematically, highlighting particular points of interest and importance. In addition, he provides a substantial historical and theological introduction to the initiatives and writings of Patriarch Bartholomew that also invites readers into the unparalleled environmental perspective of the Orthodox Church.
At a time of deepening ecological concern, "Cosmic Grace, Humble Prayer" is a living testimony and remarkable witness to what one leader and one church have done — and what all Christians can do — to foster faithful stewardship of our God-given world.