Yesterday, June 8, marked the start of the fifth Halki Summit conference in Constantinople.
This year’s theme is “Sustaining the Future of the Planet Together: the Prophetic Ministry of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,” and is sponsored in part by generous grants from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the CR Florence Foundation.
“The focus of this Summit is the comparative study of the ecological preachings and programs initiated separately and in common by our beloved brother Pope Francis in the Roman Catholic Church and Our Modesty in the Orthodox Church,” stated Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in the Keynote Address. The Ecumenical Patriarch also said, “Ecology cannot be understood without reference to theology, just as it cannot be understood without reference to the economy. At stake with the ecological crisis is not just our ability to live in a sustainable way, but our survival and our faith in God. Therefore, it becomes abundantly clear that only the cooperative and collective response by religious leaders, informed scientists, political authorities, educational institutions, and financial organizations will effectively be able to address these vital issues of our time.”
Additional speakers included Father John Chryssavgis (Ecumenical Patriarchate), Angela Caliaro (Sophia University Institute), Monsignor Marek Solczynski (Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey), Margaret Karram (President of the Focolare Movement and Vice-Chancellor of the Sophia University Institute), and Professor Giuseppe Argiolas (Rector of the Sophia University Institute). Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, who arrived in Constantinople earlier this week to lead the second GOARCH Centennial Pilgrimage, also attended the Summit.
Since 2012, the Halki Summit has gathered activists, scientists, journalists, business leaders, theologians, and academics engaging and working across intellectual boundaries to bring the global environmental discussion to a new and richer place. At the heart of that discussion is the belief that no effort can be successful without a fundamental change in values as manifested in ethics, spirituality, and religion.