October 19th, 2010
10:16 AM ET

Opinion: Saving souls and the planet go together

Editor's note: His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians, is 270th successor of St. Andrew the apostle who founded the 2,000-year-old church of Constantinople. His work for environmental protection has earned him the title "Green Patriarch." He was named by Time magazine as one of the world's most influential people and has been honored with the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal. The author of "Encountering the Mystery" and "In the World, Yet Not of the World," he is being honored October 19 by the interfaith organization The Temple of Understanding.

By Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Special to CNN

Last October, the Ecumenical Patriarchate convened an international, interdisciplinary and interfaith symposium in New Orleans on the Mississippi River, the eighth in a series of high-level conferences exploring the impact of our lifestyle and consumption on our planet's major bodies of water.

Similar symposia have met in the Aegean and Black Seas, in the Adriatic and Baltic Seas, along the Danube and Amazon Rivers, and on the Arctic.

At first glance, it may appear strange for a religious institution concerned with "sacred" values to be so profoundly involved in "worldly" issues. After all, what does preserving the planet have to do with saving the soul?

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Coptic • Environment • Greek Orthodox Church • Opinion

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Iqbal khan

    And what is this..


    October 26, 2010 at 9:27 pm |
  2. Muneef

    Have it translated it is useful to learn.

    سأل  عالمٌ  تلميذًا
    سأل عالم تلميذ: منذ متى صحبتني؟
    فقال التلميذ: منذ ثلاثة وثلاثين سنة...
    فقال العالم: فماذا تعلمت مني في هذه الفترة؟ !
    قال التلميذ: ثماني مسائل...
    قال العالم: إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون ذهب عمري معك ولم تتعلم الا ثماني مسائل؟ !
    قال التلميذ: يا أستاذ لم أتعلم غيرها ولا أحب أن أكذب.
    فقال الأستاذ: هات ما عندك لأسمع ...
    قال التلميذ:
    الأولي :
    أني نظرت إلي الخلق فرأيت كل واحد يحب محبوبا فإذا ذهب إلي القبر فارقه محبوبه
    فجعلت الحسنات محبوبي فإذا دخلت القبر دخلت معي .
    أني نظرت إلي قول الله تعالي :
     'وأما من خاف مقام ربه ونهي النفس عن الهوي فإن الجنة هي المأوى '
    فأجهدت نفسي في دفع الهوى حتى استقرت علي طاعة الله .
    الثالثة :
    أني نظرت إلي هذا الخلق فرأيت أن كل من معه شيء له قيمة حفظه حتي لا يضيع
     ثم نظرت إلي قول الله تعالي: 'ما عندكم ينفذ وما عند الله باق'
    فكلما وقع في يدي شيء ذو قيمة وجهته لله ليحفظه عنده .
    أني نظرت إلي الخلق فرأيت كل واحد يتباهي بماله أو حسبه أو نسبه،
    ثم نظرت إلي قول الله تعالي: 'إن أكرمكم عند الله أتقاكم'
    فعملت في التقوي حتي أكون عند الله كريما .
    أني نظرت في الخلق وهم يطعن بعضهم في بعض ويلعن بعضهم بعضا،
    وأصل هذا كله الحسد،
    ثم نظرت إلي قول الله عز وجل: ' نحن قسمنا بينهم معيشتهم في الحياة الدنيا '
    فتركت الحسد واجتنبت الناس وعلمت ان القسمة من عند الله فتركت الحسد عني .
    السادسة :
    أني نظرت إلي الخلق يعادي بعضهم بعضا ويبغي بعضهم علي بعض ويقاتل بعضهم بعضا ونظرت إلي قول الله تعالي: 'إن الشيطان لكم عدو فاتخذوه عدوا '
    فتركت عداوة الخلق وتفرغت لعداوة الشيطان وحده .
    أني نظرت إلي الخلق فرأيت كل واحد منهم يكابد نفسه ويذلها في طلب الرزق
    حتي انه قد يدخل فيما لا يحل له،
     ونظرت إلي قول الله عز وجل: 'وما من دابة في الأرض إلا علي الله رزقها'
    فعلمت أني واحد من هذه الدواب فاشتغلت بما لله عليّ وتركت ما لي عنده .
    الثامنة :
    أني نظرت إلي الخلق فرأيت كل مخلوق منهم متوكل علي مخلوق مثله, هذا علي ماله وهذا علي ضيعته وهذا علي صحته وهذا علي مركزه
    ونظرت إلي قول الله تعالي 'ومن يتوكل علي الله فهو حسبه'
    فتركت التوكل علي الخلق واجتهدت في التوكل علي الله .
    فقال الأستاذ: بارك الله فيك
    خذ ستين ثانيه من وقتك فقط وحاول نشرها
    ولنرى إن كان الشيطان قادرا على إيقاف هذا الأمر
    ' إن الشيطان لكم عدو فاتخذوه عدوا'
    سبحان الله – الحمد لله – لا اله إلا الله – محمد رسول الله – الله اكبر – اللهم صل وسلم وبارك على نبينا وحبيبنا محمد وعلى اله وصحبه
    اذكر الله وبعد ذلك قم بإرسال هذه الرسالة
    فكلما وقع في يدي شيء ذو قيمة وجهته لله ليحفظه عنده
    واجمع بعد بضع ساعات حسنات كثيرة جدا
    كن كذلك التلميذ الذي قال فجعلت الحسنات محبوبي فإذا دخلت القبر دخلت معي
    وتكون سببا في قيام الناس بذكر الله عز وجل
    ' ما عندكم ينفذ وما عند الله باق '
    ' ومن يتوكل علي الله فهو حسبه

    October 25, 2010 at 8:33 am |
  3. Muneef

    For those Religious and non Religious Christians to read very interesting stories that might save their souls and planet from going down the drain.


    October 24, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
  4. Iqbal khan

    No matter what any body is saying Islam is.....


    October 23, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
    • Muneef

      @Iqbal Khan.
      You are so useful thanks.

      October 23, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Ø    Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his 
         level and beat you with experience.
    Ø    War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
    Ø    The early bird might get the worm, but the second 
         mouse gets the cheese.
    Ø    Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the 
         fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
    Ø    Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.

    October 22, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  6. Iqbal khan



    October 21, 2010 at 9:14 pm |
  7. Iqbal khan


    October 20, 2010 at 9:53 pm |
  8. Reality

    Ecu-menical Patriarch Bartholomew is the leader of 300 million orthodox Christians but he lives in Islamic/secularist Turkey and is not wanted there. Nor are his followers as their numbers in the country dwindle to almost zero. Such a tolerant religion is Islam!!!

    October 20, 2010 at 8:40 am |
    • Muneef


      October 20, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
  9. Muneef

    We have mentioned that one of The solutions for child abuse has to allow marriage for the priests and nuns. The Church has to consider allowing their followers the divorce between married couples, since God did not say of remaining married unable to be divorced living or kept married even if separated. Keeping them married against their will with out love or respect for each other, when the condition is that they are to live as couple in peace with love and respect for each other or are to be divorced peacefully gaining back their freedom otherwise this way we condemn them to unrest living in dungeon of wars between souls.
    Then it is essential that the divorced couples should be allowed to remarry whom they may become to love to be with for years or the rest of their lives.
    Since not allowing that would lead to further acts of adultery or your worst of fears.
    Unless it is as the forbiden fruit being more desired? Human Nature? Whether Apples or Barries.
    Give space to all God did not forbid and be tougher meajors on the things God has Sinned. 
    May God guide all to rightous.Amen

    October 19, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
    • Muneef

      Well guess there should be a change that allows pasters,priests or sisters,mothers or what ever you call them serving the church to get married and not with out husband and wife since they are only humans and have human needs and keeping them singals as males and females drive them to wrong doings at these weakest moments of Humans Needs!
      In Islam marriage is considered as half of the Religion and the other half is Pilgrimage,Hajj to Mecca! Doesn't matter which comes first but a man is complete as a one full moon only if did both!
      So please have mercy on those poor things otherwise their lives are burnt for nothing since God did not say so beside that they may contribute for more gays and lesbians into your Society? 
      May God forgive me.

      October 19, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
    • Raison


      Uh, Muneef, this topic is about the environment, interfaith relations, and the author of the article is calling for a more sensible approach, which I agree with as far as that goes...
      And, just a side note...could you stop using the "burnt for nothing" references? It sounds pretty bad but I am guessing that this is just an error in translation or you are using a common saying that is only understood within your culture over in Yemen. We don't want anyone getting burnt, you know what I mean?
      Anyway, how have you been? Do you ever have problems with the word filter?

      October 20, 2010 at 2:05 am |
    • Muneef

      Hi there yes I know what the subject is but since was mentioned about saving souls and then the planet thought should be right. About burnt for nothing was meaning like a candle light..as we use it for teachers that they resamble light that comes from a candle. As to filters yes I do suffer a lot and have no choice t to give it up if not accepted.

      October 20, 2010 at 2:22 am |
    • Raison


      Ahh, now that makes more sense, but this saying about teachers is archaic and obscure. I have never heard of it, but we have a similar but different phrase of "burning the candle at both ends" to describe using one's energies up at a faster pace.
      These old sayings can be confusing, especially the ones found in holy books, yes? 😀

      October 20, 2010 at 2:31 am |
    • Muneef

      This saying of the can-dle light expressed to tea-chers came in some poem and not from the Quran. But about light-ing can-dle from both sides I never heard of before and not wise or possible to stand on tables but possible if han-ged hor-izontally on walls or from the ceiling!?

      October 20, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
    • Iqbal khan

      Dear Muneef keep up the good work....

      October 20, 2010 at 9:53 pm |
    • Muneef

      @Iqbal Khan.

      Can keep with your assistance always.thank you so much for the valuable links.
      Can you find me the links related to the story found in Sura 85:01 to 09?
      Thankful to you

      October 20, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  10. Megatron

    He asks when we will say "enough" to the exploitation of the environment.

    I ask him, when will we say "enough" to the explotiation of the people by religion.

    Do what I say because I'm holy. Live the way I've dictated or you're immoral. Accept what I say or you are damned

    October 19, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Well said...

      October 19, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
    • Tim

      Megatron, do you know anything about the Orthodox Christianity that he represents?

      October 20, 2010 at 10:17 am |
    • Frank

      Megatron, it's illogical to blame 'religion' (what exactly are we defining religion as here?) for all of those things. Those are the works of humans. What about exploiting people through the use of science or politics? People will find any excuse to have their greed satisfied.

      October 20, 2010 at 9:27 pm |
  11. Raison

    A good article. I am glad to see someone in religious authority talking a bit of sense for once.

    Now if only he would be willing to address the delusional nature of religious belief systems...and how it is sure to toss a "monkey-wrench" into his efforts regardless...real progress on our environment might be made a reality.

    To fight against greed is good, but many Christians view the resources of the Earth as theirs to exploit out-of-hand, without restriction.
    Others would speak of "stewardship" and the careful management of these resources.

    But money rules and corrupts. If you do not fight human weaknesses, you cannot do very many strong things, especially when money gets things done, and often the only things that get done are the ones that "give a return"....
    And I love that beard. 😀

    October 19, 2010 at 10:39 am |
    • Peace2All


      Yes, I liked the article too. Maybe soon the rest of the issues you suggested will follow, sooner rather than later.

      So... How are ya'...?

      October 19, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
    • Raison


      Heyo bro! I am as well as can be expected, though my post above is rather clunky and missing a few things.
      Thanks for not pointing them out –or you could go ahead and pick it apart if you like. Any criticism from you is usually good, even if I am terrible at listening to wisdom when I am distracted...
      oops – going now. 😛

      October 19, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
    • Muneef


      Am sure that Mankind used to live longer because there was clean water and air but now non is as was pure as was before than the industrial revolution but now we even have so much debris in space that causes of which to earth is not yet clear.

      October 19, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
    • Frank

      "but many Christians view the resources of the Earth as theirs to exploit out-of-hand, without restriction."

      That's a Western capitalist view that got 'absorbed' into certain 'Christian' circles.

      October 19, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
    • Raison


      Yes, I thought it needed mentioning, as the "Patriarch" has no doubt found it tough going where such beliefs are held.

      October 19, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.