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Patriarch Bartholomew: on Hurricane Harvey in Texas, “time to reflect on terrifying power of nature and our responsibility”

“The ongoing devastation of Hurricane (now Tropical Storm) Harvey in the Gulf shore region of Texas, and particularly in Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, is a grim reminder of the terrifying power of nature”. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, well known around the world for his commitment to the environment, so much so that his efforts have earned him the title of “Green Patriarch”, said this at the beginning of a statement he issued about the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey in the United States. The Patriarch assured his prayers for those who lost their lives, the families affected by the disaster, and those involved in rescue operations. “May God provide them strength and fortitude in this, their hour of need”. In his statement the Patriarch also invited to reflect on the responsibility we have as human beings to protect our Earth, a few days before the celebration, on 1st September, of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. “Now is also a time – Patriarch Bartholomew wrote – to reflect on the awesome power of creation, and our human responsibility to be good and wise stewards of the environment. We are all called to participate in the redemption and stewardship of our world whether it is through working to ameliorate the destructive force of such hurricanes by better environmental planning; or committing more seriously to the grave issue of climate change and how it is affecting our planet; or even becoming personally involved in the charities that provide comfort and support to those whose lives are so drastically changed in the blink of an eye”. Patriarch Bartholomew’s statement ends by recalling the Covenant between God and every living creature and the verse from Genesis, “the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh”.


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