Istanbul, March 14, 2011
A vibrant and heartfelt appeal to nations to abandon the use of nuclear energy: this is the message sent by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the Japanese people to express the solidarity of the Orthodox world. The message was sent on the first Sunday of Lent, also called the Sunday of Orthodoxy, on the anniversary of the restoration of the veneration of icons, which occurred in 843, as an expression of respect towards the people they represent.
"With a heart heavy with pain - Bartholomew starts - all humanity is witnessing the tragedy that has struck the land of Japan, causing the death of many of our brothers and sisters. Prayers are being lifted from all corners of the earth as a sign of solidarity with our Japanese brethren".
The disaster caused by the terrible earthquake and tsunami – the message continues - has been worsened by the nightmare of radioactive contamination due to the explosion of the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. "With regard to the terrible earthquake-related disaster, human reason can do nothing, because the causes are outside its scope," writes Bartholomew. "On the contrary - he adds - there is a reason for the explosion at the nuclear reactor. And with all due respect for the human face of scientific knowledge of its potential use for the production of nuclear energy to meet the needs of humanity, thus threatening its survival, we dare to propose the use of scientific knowledge for the production of alternative energy sources, the so-called 'green' energy, that isfriendly to the environment and thus for humanity. "
Bartholomew points out that "our Creator has given us the sun, wind, waves, from which energy can be extracted for our needs. An ecological science has the ability to invent tools for the production of renewable energy that is not harmful. Why, then, spread the use of energy production that is so dangerous to the integrity of the human race? Is it not an insult and a provocation of nature, which in turn then turns her back on human beings? ". "From this our humble home, along with our prayers for the sorely tried people of the Land of the Rising Sun, we take the opportunity to make an appeal to States to reconsider their policy on nuclear energy" says Bartholomew I.
In short a brave and provocative message, and a decided position, in line with the ecological battle undertaken by the patriarchate of Constantinople since 1989, which with its various initiatives is at the forefront in the Christian world for ecological conception of creation.