On October 21, 2021 an International conference on the general theme: “The Good Practices of the Orthodox Churches in view of the UNFCCC COP26,” organized by the Volos Academy for Theological Studies in cooperation with WWF Greece, was successfully held on line.
The main goal of the conference was to present indicative good practices that take place in the Orthodox Churches around the world (with special emphasis on the Balkans) concerning the effort to address climate change.
The conference was greeted by Mr. Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, European Commission (video), His Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Hieronymos II, and His Eminence the Metropolitan of Demetrias and Almyros Ignatios (video).
On the good practices in Greece speakers included : Rev. Dr. Amfilochios Miltos, (Priest-in-Charge at Evangelistria Parish Church, New Ionia - Volos, Greece, pilot parish of the project ‘Green Parish and parallel activities’ of the Volos Academy for Theological Studies): “Green parish: A journey starts”; Dr. Antonis Kalogerakis, (Head of the Institute of Theology & Ecology-Dept. of the Orthodox Academy of Crete): “The Ethical Duty of Sustainability: Good Practices by the Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC)”; and sister Theochariti, (Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of Chrysopigi, Chania, Crete), “Orthodox monasticism and sustainability - Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of Chrysopigi.”
On Serbia, Kalmar Zvezdan, (Coordinator of a program on climate change, Center for ecology and sustainable development - CEKOR): spoke on “The Eucharistic nature of societal change necessary to tackle Climate change."
For Bulgaria, Ass. Prof. Dr. Kostadin Nushev, (Theological Faculty, University of Sofia) spoke on the “Environmental education, official positions and good practices related to the climate crisis in the context of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.”
Romania represented by Dr. Ionut Biliuta, (Researcher 'Gheorghe Sincai' Institute for Social Sciences and the Humanities Romanian Academy) and Rev. Cezar Marksteiner-Ungureanu, (priest of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Austria and PhD candidate of the University of Austria) who spoke on “Un-Orthodox Ecology: Theological and Pastoral Responses to the Ecological Challenge in the Contemporary Romanian Orthodoxy,” and “Ecology in the Orthodox Romanian Church: An (open) challenge?” respectively.
Rev. Prof. Volodymyr Vakin, (priest of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine and Rector of the Volyn Orthodox Theological Academy): “Ecological initiatives of the Volyn Orthodox Theological Academy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” presented the good practices in Ukraine.
Dr. Elizabeth Theokritoff, (Associate Lecturer, Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge) spoke for United Kingdom (UK) on the “'Green' Christian initiatives in the British Isles - some pointers for the Orthodox.”
For United States of America (USA) Rev. Dr. Nicolas Kazarian, (Director, Department of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Professor at Saint Serge Orthodox Theological Institute) spoke on “Greening the Parish: Answering to the Green Patriarch’s Call.”
Last speaker was Dr. Miltiadis Lazoglou, (Head of Policy, Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage, Project Manager LIFE IP AdaptInGR) who spoke on “The beliefs, opinions and knowledge of Greek citizens about the phenomenon of climate change and the need to adapt to the new climate conditions: The case of the Region of Thessaly.”
Moderators of the conference were Dr. Nikolaos Asproulis, deputy director, Volos Academy for Theological Studies, and lecturer, Hellenic Open University and Mrs. Theodota Nantsou, Head of Policy, WWF Greece.
The proceedings of the conference will appear soon in book format.
You can watch the video of the proceedings here