A letter from Archbishop Spyridon to the Clergy of the Archdiocese
re the environmental symposium in Santa Barbara
( September 1997 )

The Reverend ____ ____ ____
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Dear Father ____________:

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

When His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW, visits the United States this fall, his itinerary guarantees him many opportunities to demonstrate his pastoral love for his flock here in America. It will also provide him with opportunity to make statements on a wide range of issues affecting the lives of all people. Among these, is sustaining humankind's stewardship of our natural environment.

The Patriarch has called upon us to organize a symposium on Religion, Science and the Environment, Caring for God's Creation. Our hope is that this event will be a unique opportunity for the Orthodox Faithful in America to come together and hear from His All Holiness directly on this issue of the environment, and to discuss what we can do to further the Church's mission here in our own Archdiocese. We are writing to invite you to participate in this symposium, which will be held at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, in Santa Barbara, California, November 6-8, 1997.

His All Holiness encourages all Orthodox Christians to share in his concern for the environment. Under his auspices, numerous environmental symposia have already been held in Europe, bringing scientists and other individuals prominently involved in environmental conservation, together with senior representatives of the major religions of the world. These symposia have successfully demonstrated the potential for religious, scientific, and environmental groups to join forces in helping to restore balance to the environment, so central to humanity's spiritual, physical, social and even economic well-being. The focus of the symposium in Santa Barbara will be to create an Orthodox model for environmental action. The anticipated result will be a development of conscientious environmental leadership in the Orthodox Church, especially as we look toward the new millennium.

The format of the symposium will be conference sessions and a serious of workshops organized around environmental issues, intended to identify specific actions that hierarchy and faithful may take toward restoring the proper relationship between God and the world as it was in Eden.

This symposium promises to be one of the highlights of the Patriarchal visit. We are excited that in addition to the Patriarch's participation on Saturday, November 8, 1997, we will be honored by the attendance of such national and international speakers throughout the symposium, including invited guests: U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt; Steven Rockefeller, of Earth Charter; David Buzzelli, Co-Chair of the U.S. President's Council for sustainable Development; Paul Gorman, Executive Director of the National Religious Partnership; Jane Lubchenco, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and, Father John Chryssavgis, author of the soon to be published book: Beyond the Shattered Image: Insights into an Orthodox Ecological Worldview. We also have strong indication from the White House that Vice-President Al Gore will join the Patriarch in addressing the symposium.

This will be a working experience. We are limited to 175 participants, including leaders from the Orthodox Faith, as well as religious leaders from other denominations who have initiated similar environmental programs, theologians, religious educators, scientists, environmentalists, industry professionals, and other concerned individuals.

Interest in the symposium from around the country has, been very strong. We hope that you will attend, and would appreciate it if you would notify the symposium committee as soon as possible of your interest. The symposium committee can be reached through our consultant:

Ms. Mary Rose
Mary Rose & Associates
815 De La Vina Street, Suite C
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
phone: (805) 965-3952
fax: (805) 966-1306

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding the symposium, please call Rev. Economos Constantine Zozos, the Executive Director of the Symposium, at (805)683-4492, or Ms. Rose at the above number. Thank you.

Most Faithfully,
Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America
Honorary Chairman