It is with great joy that we learned of this Consultative Meeting on “The Black Sea Environmental Education Program”. The protection of the integrity of Creation in general, and of the Black Sea in particular, has always been a priority close to our heart.
Almost five years have passed since we organized the International Symposium on the Black Sea. There we brought together people from many different backgrounds and beliefs, including Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious leaders from the Black Sea region, as well as many international and regional environmental personalities. Each of these persons presented the challenges associated with the Black Sea in all their dimensions. Consequently, we all agreed that it was necessary for us to act as soon as possible in order to protect the Black Sea and its surrounding inhabitants from further pollution and danger.
Following our commitment, we initiated the Halki Ecological Institute for the training of both clergy and laity, journalists, and others. For five consecutive summers, we organized seminars and trained many persons. These seminars enabled each of the participants to bring back to their respective countries and communities, like the dove after the cataclysm, the message of restoring the distorted image of nature to its pristine beauty, as it was created and given to humankind by God.
The need for an education program is imperative, as the involuntary destruction of the earth is often a result of human ignorance. Therefore, we strongly support every effort towards the dissemination of environmental knowledge, thus imparting an “ecological conscience”.
For these reasons, we wish you success in your work, praying for the health, strength, and inspiration of each of you in the fulfillment of your task.
May the grace of God be with you all.