World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Press centre / News / Patriarch Bartholomew at Amsterdam International Water Week: "clean water is nothing less than a moral crisis”

Patriarch Bartholomew at Amsterdam International Water Week: "clean water is nothing less than a moral crisis”

Patriarch Bartholomew at Amsterdam International Water Week: "clean water is nothing less than a moral crisis”

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

02 December 2019

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, speaking during the closing session of the Amsterdam International Water Week on 5 November, said that “clean water is nothing less than a moral crisis and a moral challenge.”

The Amsterdam International Water Week is a global movement committed to a future in which a circular and sustainable water environment is achieved.

“The language of science and the enterprise of innovation, the determination of environmentalists and the initiative of policymakers – all of this energy complements the purpose of theology to open our eyes to the divine mystery and wonder of creation,” said the Ecumenical Patriarch. “All shades of human knowledge are completed by the ways of the heart, diverting us from a culture of exploitation and consumerism, while converting us to a culture of gratitude and generosity.”

In short, he added, our efforts for water management and security are ultimately a cry of the human soul that recognizes that water is essentially a gift to be treasured and shared with the entire creation. “Our deep-seated conviction is that water is the inviolable and non-negotiable right of every human being and every living thing,” he said. “Water cradles us from our birth, sustains us in life, and heals us in sickness.”

Each one of us is a microcosm of the oceans that sustain life, Bartholomew reflected. “Every person here, every person in the world, is in essence a miniature ocean,” he said. “It is the responsibility of us all – as state and religious leaders, as communities and individuals, as corporations and industries – to provide sustainable, clean, and safe water for the future of our cities and citizens, as well as all people and our planet.”

Learn more about the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Water Network