Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was awarded an honorary doctorate of the Department of Forest and Natural Environment Sciences of the International Hellenic University (IHU) at noon, during a special ceremony at the school’s large auditorium.
His All-Holiness, who was accompanied by Metropolitan Epiphaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine and the representative of the Archbishop of Athens, Metropolitan Damaskinos of Didymoteicho, Orestiada and Soufli, expressed his great joy for the highest honor, an honor that, as he said, was a reflection of the institution of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the initiatives it has taken over the years for the protection and preservation of the natural environment.
In his speech, the Ecumenical Patriarch stressed that the initiatives of the Great Church of Christ for the protection of the natural environment, which is threatened today more than ever before, have had a global resonance, noting that they have had a touching response from young people. He referred to the scientific and theological conferences and symposia organised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to the declarations that were signed, sending to everyone the timely and urgent message of protecting the environment.
“This message”, the Ecumenical Patriarch added, “is addressed not only to Christians but also to every person of good will who can and wants to contribute to this purpose”. He also noted that the ecological crisis as a social problem and the respect for human dignity are two sides of the same coin.
At another point in his speech, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stressed that in recent years the number of climate migrants has increased significantly, with all the consequences this entails for human survival. He described as unacceptable the destruction of natural resources, which are essential for human survival, on the altar of profit, adding that “ecology has become a victim of the economy”.
The second and last day of the visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and his entourage to Kavala began with a visit to the Deputy District Governor of Kavala, while he also attended two events organized in his honor by the Municipality and the Chamber of Kavala.
Memories of his childhood in Imbros
Yesterday evening, the Ecumenical Patriarch attended a concert organised in his honour by the Holy Metropolis of Philippi, Neapolis and Thassos at the ancient theatre of Philippi, with the participation of Kostas Makedonas, Georgia Ntagaki, the choir and the folk orchestra of the Holy Church of St. Chrysostomos in Thessaloniki and the music school of Kavala.
In his short speech, the Primate of Orthodoxy, addressing the young people, recalled his childhood in Imbros, his parents and teachers, his life on the island, while he also referred to Father Asterios, the humble, as he described him, priest of his village.
Yesterday afternoon, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew also performed a Trisagion Service at the tomb of the late Metropolitan Prokopios of Philippi, who spent forty years in the apostolic Metropolis of Philippi, Neapolis and Thassos.
The visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch and Metropolitan Epiphaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine to Kavala will conclude early in the afternoon with a pilgrimage to the baptistery of St. Lydia, where, according to tradition, on the banks of the Zygaktis River, in 50 AD, Apostle Paul baptized Lydia, the first European and Greek Christian woman.