burning forest, fire fighter, Greece, August 2023

Greece, July 2023, Photo: Orthodoxia News Agency

It is disheartening over these last weeks to witness the dozens of devastating fires, the ferocious winds, recurring heat waves, and extensive damage to the land and to the small villages of the countryside, the islands, and even the outskirts of Athens and Corinth,” wrote Pillay. At one point, 52 new conflagrations were sparked within a 24-hour period.”

Pillay noted that these fires spell incalculable damage to the lives and livelihoods of all involved and to the nations whole economy. 

Not just Greece but all of southern Europe and northern Africa have been jolted by this summers weather systems, as have many other locales, too,” Pillay wrote. But it is ironic that Greece, not a substantial contributor to climate change, should be at the forefront of battling it.”

Greece is close to the hearts of Christians everywhere, Pillay added. As it is of Western democracy, so too Greece is a cradle of early Christianity and some of its earliest assemblies,” he wrote. Greek Christianity is also a major progenitor of the ecumenical movement, of ecumenical theology, and of leadership in the fellowship.”

The World Council of Churches joins the Ecumenical Patriarch in recognizing the moral and religious imperatives that climate change is posing, Pillay concluded. We stand with you, and we pledge our continued best efforts in this existential test for all humanity,” he wrote.