“The Face of God,” a recently released film, features Orthodox Christian perspectives from North America on climate change. The film presents reflections based on the experience and responses from Orthodox communities on the ecological crisis.
Voices of clergy and lay leaders, scientists and theologians, as well as parish communities, focus on ecology, theology, and our relationship to the natural world. From the melting permafrost that threatens parishes in Alaska, the wildfires that ravaged California in 2020, and to the south, where hurricanes are becoming stronger and deadlier, communities throughout the world face the rising impacts of global climate change.
Produced by The Orthodox Fellowship of the Transfiguration, this pan-Orthodox film is introduced by Archbishop Elpidophoros, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and narrated by John Chryssavgis.
“The film depicts the beauty and sacredness of the natural environment, the importance, and urgency of creation care, as well as the responsibility of all of us, to preserve God’s creation,” Chryssavgis said, as one of the film co-producers.
Interviews in the film include the late Archbishop David from the OCA Diocese of Alaska, Metropolitan Savas of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh, and numerous clergy, professors, and lay leaders throughout America.
This film is based on the tradition of the Orthodox church’s long history of engaging with climate change and environmental initiatives, and especially the work of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, affectionately known as “the green patriarch,” whose work is highlighted in the film. In 1989, Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios published the first encyclical letter on the environment, proclaiming 1 September – the beginning of the church calendar – as a day of prayer for the protection of God’s creation. This was the origin of the Season of Creation, which has since become an annual global and ecumenical celebration.