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* -> News UGCC -> The Day of Creator – Church’s ecological mission

The Day of Creator – Church’s ecological mission

Rev. Dr Ihor Shaban 

Text prepareing for the 14th International Congress Renovabis: Being responsible for the Creation — Ecological Challenges in Central and Eastern Europe

Discovering of the beauty of nature and objecting to degradation of ecosystem, but also ecological initiatives on local level are very important. In this case in the world and in Ukraine particularly the requirement to protect the environment by Christians and demonstrate understanding the nature as gift of God for a human been is very important. In our time Christians also need to realize that protect the climate is the ethics and spiritual necessitates.

A safeguard of environment is one of the most important questions of modern life that is slowly opened by Church. As it was declared yesterday, during the opening session, The Day of Creations was the idea of the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople. Since that time different churches and countries started to use this idea for the ecological events on its own.

Let me present a little bit the practical points of UGCC ecological activity, especially mentioned already The Day of Creations. In 2009 His Beatitude Lubomyr Husar, the Head of UGCC, together with the synod of bishops of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church decided to initiate The Day of Creations in Ukraine. In cooperation with apostolic nuncio, archbishop Ivan Jurkovych, different denominations representatives, professors of Ecological Academy together with Ecology Ministry legislative body on the 14th of September it was made. It was very important to start our cooperation with state as well as with other churches, what is a very essential aspect for ecumenical relationship and dialog.

After this meeting, more than ever all bishops of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church are more and more conscious that Church can not remain indifferent facing ecological problems, as the phenomenon of the swift warming of climate, contamination of unique fauna and flora on our Earth, genetic modification of food. Because of these phenomena we can experience the other problems: hunger, unemployment, public inequalities, and epidemics.

Someone may ask why 14th of September? The answer is very simply – it is the New Year in church calendar (in old church calendar that we are using in Ukraine).

During this Ecological Day 2009, in his special appeal to the audience, His Beatitude Lubomyr Husar, the Head of UGCC, tried to explain the value of gifts and talents, which God, Creator of the world, gave to the man. Consider the words from the Book of Genesis about creation the man and the world, card. Husar stressed «that the remarkable world, created by God, should be hostile sometimes and even dangerous for its 'guardians'». It is besides needed to remember, that a man was called rather to the conduct of responsible governments, to guard creations, and searching for necessary supplies for deserving existence of all.

It is true that local Churches in Ukraine are not engaged for the guard of environment on a large scale. However it starts the initiative of the forum to exchange ideas, beginning the activities and public movements with ecumenical character. Christians are more conscious of protecting the environment and unique spaces of our country. In 2009, during The Day of Creations, Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic tried to influence on Ukrainians to assist the Churches in its defence of environment; make an effort to exchanges the information between Churches with the most interesting ecological initiatives and create the ecumenical stage of dialog between associations, motions and Christian societies. On our last meeting in Kyiv, Catholics, Protestants and representatives of Orthodoxy, underlined that Christian Churches need to be unite for responsibility of all man decision about protection of environment. Christians can not remain at distance discussions which touch the future of our Earth.

The churches in Ukraine appealed to authorities of the state to elevate its pioneer role in a struggle against climatic changes. It is only in early 90ies, after the period of intensive economic proceedings during the «epoch of Soviet Union», we started to understand the scale of eliminations of environment in Ukraine. Then also different catholic associations slowly began to realize the necessity of actions in behalf on the guard of environment. Recently Synod of Bishop of UGCC discussed an ecological situation in a country. Bishops paid attention to moral responsibility of the state. They appealed also to faithful with petition about situation in the guard of environment and also about education of children to respect the nature.

This year, as well, we started to think about The Day of Creations 2010 with the main theme: From Ecology of Man to Ecology of Environments. Also this year we decided to spread over our ecological activity to the other cities, especially Eastern part of Ukraine. Particularly, the representatives of our church in Odessa will organize a round table about ecological situation in this area, especially about ecological situation with the Black See. Beside this, of course there should be an ecumenical prayer with the other denominations.

For the 14th of September 2010 we are preparing special prayer for this ecological occasion in each parish of UGCC (we also suggest to prepare such prayer to the other churches in Ukraine). His Beatitude Lubomyr Husar, will have a public prayer — moleben in a very special place in Ukraine: The St. Volodymyr Hill, together with the other churches representatives.

Also, to make the Ukrainian people more responsible for the nature and all creations we got from God, we decided to prepare a special ecological event: to draw a unique ecological picture. A big piece of paper with contour of Earth, all interesting people will take it chance to draw its vision of ecological situation in the world and in different region of Ukraine as well.

Unfortunately our partners from Ecology Ministry legislative body ask us to change our main conference to the other date, because of its inner difficulty of preparing this ecological event. So according to our last conversation with the state representatives, we are still in good thinking to make this conference together with state. It will help people, organizations and the state to build up cooperation with each other.

Especially this event is not political one (what seems to be important in today’s Ukraine), and at the other hand this ecological event is very significant to the people (even if now people can not understand this or more correctly is to say do not want to understand, because the other problems, mostly economical, are more important to the them)

What we can say about the practical results of our ecological project. First of all it is to bring together all churches in Ukraine and show to the nation that churches are aware of ecological problems; that churches truly can work together, what is very ecumenical points, especially important point in policonfession Ukraine. The other practical point is the cooperation between Catholic Church and the State Ministry of Ecology: we already have an invitation for lectures in Ecological Academy, what we are pleased to implement soon.

At the end of my paper let me inform audience that the Ecumenical Commission of UGCC together with Ecological Buro of UGCC plans to organize different type of conferences about moral and ethics aspects of genetically modified food and prepare the ecological pilgrimages. There is also an idea of the so-called create a map of Christian ecological initiatives with the purpose of updating and even construction from friendly grounds to nature the parish territories.

It interesting to know that in opinion of a number of priests, elimination of environment can be acknowledged as modern so-called «new sin». Operating against these, what God provided for a man, aspires to derangement its friendship with God, aspires to the diversion from God, what we understand as a sin. In the modern world more ecological actions of man has not only local resonance, but global, that is why our sins are more communal than individual. In this context elimination of environment, as well as interpretation of life, in the categories of human invention using its genetically modified food (GМО), is not morally good. I’m sure, for the common understanding of taking care about nature, people should be brought up from childhood.

Hope that the questions of protection the environment will become essential to all churches in Ukraine that together with Ministry of Ecology of Ukraine are organizing The Day of Creations.

Rev. dr Ihor Shaban,

Head of the Ecumenical Commission of UGCC

12.09.2010, 2143 просмотра.

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