Rome, October 5, 2021
Participants in a religious leaders’ summit in Rome yesterday made a joint appeal to the international community to take urgent measures to protect and heal the environment.
The event, organized by the embassies of Great Britain and Italy at the Holy See, was timed to the upcoming 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, and was attended by the leaders of various Christian denominations, world religions, and diplomatic corps.
Orthodox representatives included His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Russian Church’s Department for External Church Relations, and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Met. Hilarion told RIA-Novosti that Romanian priest Fr. Ioan Sauca also presented, though he was representing not the Romanian Church, but the World Council of Churches, for which he is currently acting General Secretary.
The environmental appeal was also signed by Pope Francis and representatives of other Christian confessions, as well as representatives from Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and Confucianism, reports TASS.
The appeal reads:
We ask the whole world to achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions as soon as possible, to prevent the average global temperature from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. We appeal to the richest countries not only to take the necessary measures to preserve the environment on their territory, but also to provide financial assistance to the most vulnerable countries to help them cope with climate challenges.
The religious leaders also call upon politicians to ensure greater cooperation in developing green energy.
“Our faiths and spirituality,” the appeal notes, “teach the duty of caring for the human family and the environment.”
In his interview with RIA-Novosti, Met. Hilarion notes that he spoke at the summit about the Russian Church’s duty to help strengthen the resolve of people from all walks of life to take joint responsibility for creation, with reference to the document “The Position of the Russian Orthodox Church on the Issues of Ecology” adopted by the Bishops’ Council in 2013.
Pat. Bartholomew begins speaking at 42:45, and Met. Hilarion begins at 53:45 in the video below: