Due to numerous theological differences – including the issue of forced celibacy – the Great Schism of 1054 split the Christian church in two. Thereafter, the bishops of Rome declared themselves “Popes” of the Roman Catholic Church and banned their clergy from getting married and later still from having any sex. And the bishops of Constantinople (now in Istanbul, Turkey) adopted the term “Patriarch” for the spiritual leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which has always allowed its priests to marry.
Fast forward nearly 1,000 years to the current Catholic sex scandal. Had enough of this story? Me neither. I won’t be satisfied until Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) is held personally responsible for shifting predatory priests from parish to parish to prey on new victims. After all, Ratzinger was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (previously known as the Inquisition) from 1981 to 2005, the same time during which most of the recent cases hail because deviant priests were protected by the top tiers of the Catholic Church.
Meanwhile, the other major Christian leader in the world – Patriarch Bartholomew of the Eastern Orthodox Church – has been spearheading a new religious and moral movement. For the past twenty years, the Patriarch has been denouncing the sins of environmental pollution and over-consumption and preaching the merits of sustainability and green technology to his 300,000,000 followers worldwide.
“To commit a crime against the natural world is a sin. For human beings to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation … for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life … all of these are sins.”
Not only has Patriarch Bartholomew endorsed biologists and climate scientists who point to the extinction and fast depletion of the earth’s animals and resources, he also has brought together other religious leaders from around the world – including indigenous Shaman leaders – to help spread the core message: We are responsible for the future of this planet.
“If we have arrived at this critical point – today – it means that we representatives of religion did not fulfill our mission. As Orthodox Christians we use the Greek ‘kairos’ to describe a moment in time which has eternal significance. For the human race as a whole, there is now a kairos – a decisive time – in our relationship with God’s creation. We will either act in time to protect life on earth from the worst consequences of human folly, or we will fail to act. May God grant us the wisdom to act in time.”
Patriarch Bartholomew is the recipient of the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor from President Bill Clinton and the Norwegian Sophie Prize for environmental excellence. He also has been named a “Champion of the Earth” by the United Nations. To view a 40 minute movie on the Patriarch’s amazing work, please visit:
And if you are interested in learning more about the Great Schism of 1054, when the Eastern Orthodox Church split from the Catholic Church and the resulting horrors, check out the first book of the Oracle trilogy: The Truth: About the Five Primary Religions.