Orthodox Church in America – August 2015
“The Earth is the Lord’s: Caring for God’s Creation”—a five-session study guide originally published by the Orthodox Church in America in 1995—has been reissued and is now available in PDF format for downloading.
With Church Schools beginning during the month of September, the study guide makes an ideal “beginning of the school year” resource that not only addresses stewardship of creation, but highlights the annual September 1 “Day of Prayer for Creation” observed among Orthodox Christians world-wide since the late 1980s. A poster highlighting the day is also available for downloading.
“On September 1, 1989, the late Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios I issued the first message from the Ecumenical Throne on the environment,”writes His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon in a letter being sent to all OCA parishes at the end of August 2015, in which he urges use of the study guide. “With his proclamation and the establishment of September 1, the first day of the Ecclesiastical New Year, as the Day of Prayer for the Creation, the Church again seeks to remind us, as Mary reminded Martha, of the one needful thing—life and unity with Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. In that statement, Patriarch Demetrios I reminds us that the holy fathers of the Church teach that ‘man is the prince of creation, endowed with the privilege of freedom. Being partaker simultaneously of the material and the spiritual world, he was created in order to refer creation back to the Creator, in order that the world may be saved from decay and death.’”
Metropolitan Tikhon continues by stating that “in Saint Ephrem the Syrian’s work, ‘Hymns on Paradise,’ we are given yet another guide to how we might come into that unity and life in Christ. Saint Ephrem tells us that God’s two witnesses, or pointers, are, ‘nature, through man’s use of it, [and] Scripture, through his reading it.’
“As the summer draws to a close and children go back to or away to school for the first time and begin again a new academic year and ecclesiastical year, let us, being reminded by the pointers to Christ as mentioned by Saint Ephrem, take a moment to turn to the one needful thing in praise, worship and thanksgiving for the creation and all the blessings bestowed upon us by our merciful Creator,” Metropolitan Tikhon concludes. “It is my prayer that the parishes, Sunday Schools, Youth Groups and other organizations of the Orthodox Church in America will take up this time around September 1 to celebrate the Day of Prayer for the Creation.”