Toward an Ecology of Transfiguration: Orthodox Christian Perspectives on Environment, Nature, and Creation

Toward an Ecology of Transfiguration: Orthodox Christian Perspectives on Environment, Nature, and Creation

Toward an Ecology of Transfiguration: Orthodox Christian Perspectives on Environment, Nature, and Creation

Toward an Ecology of Transfiguration: Orthodox Christian Perspectives on Environment, Nature, and Creation

Synopsis

Can Orthodox Christianity offer spiritual resources uniquely suited to the environmental concerns of today? This book makes the case emphatically that it can indeed. In addition to being the first substantial and comprehensive collection of essays, in any language, to address environmental issues from the Orthodox point of view, this volume (with contributions from many of the most influential theologians and philosophers in contemporary world Orthodoxy) will engage a wide audience, in academic as well as popular circles - resonating not only with Orthodox audiences but with all those in search of a fresh approach to environmental theory and ethics that can bring to bear the resources of ancient spirituality, often virtually unknown in the West, on modern challenges and dilemmas.

Excerpt

It is with particul ar satisfaction and personal joy that we welcome this publication, being originally the fruit of an innovative conference held from October 25–28, 2007, in California, at the St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco, for the purpose of gathering Orthodox thinkers from a variety of disciplines and range of backgrounds in order to explore scholarly perspectives of our relationship toward the natural environment.

As is well known, this topic has been of urgent concern and spiritual priority to the Ecumenical Patriarchate since at least the mid-1980s and, more especially, during our tenure since 1991. We have spared no effort whatsoever in endeavoring to raise popular awareness—both within the Orthodox Church worldwide as well as within the broader community globally, across religious and disciplinary divides—on the sacredness of material creation, formed out of nothing by our loving Creator and offered to humanity as a sacrament of communion and thanksgiving, but also on the sinful abuse of its natural resources by human beings who, over the centuries, have demonstrated a sense of arrogance and failed to recognize when enough is enough.

Throughout our international conferences with theologians and scientists, our political conversations with world leaders, and our encyclical communications with Orthodox faithful, we have emphasized the liturgical, iconic, and ascetic dimensions of the divine command and human vocation for the prayerful preservation and needful protection of the natural environment. Nevertheless, it has always been our foremost expectation and fervent hope alike that communities throughout the world would gradually . . .

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