7th international conference on ecological theology and environmental ethics started on 27 October in the Orthodox Academy of Crete, Chania, Greece.
The conference offers an opportunity for members from different faith communities, academia and representatives of ecumenical organisations from all over the world to discuss together concerns related to protection of environment and the role of religion in this effort.
In the opening address to the conference, His All-holiness ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew underlined: "Facing ecological disaster requires immediate, multifaceted and concerted global effort. … the close relationship between theology and ecology and the environmental ethics expresses a new hierarchy of values, at the head of which the responsibility for the protection of the environment, inextricably linked to respect for the sanctity of the human person."
CEC study secretary Rev. Dr. Peter Pavlovic, greeted participants on behalf of the Conference of European Churches and the European Christian Environmental Network. In his contribution to the conference, he highlighted that: "to find a way to a sustainable future is not only a task for politicians, economists, or scientists, even if all of them have a substantial contribution. Faith communities have an important role to play."
The conference will focus the attention on the terminology of faith communities use in addressing the ecological crises and the key concern of faith communities in addressing environmental concerns: what is common among us in these efforts? The conference will address as well as topics related to sabbath theology and practise, the concept of ecological sin, practical ways cooperation between different faith communities, sustainable development goals, as well as future perspectives of eco-theology.
The opening part of the conference revealed that participants are united in underlining that care for the environment and a sustainable future is an existential concern that includes significant ethical decisions. In cooperation with other partners, churches and religious communities have a vital role to play in this process.