Within the general concern for ecological disasters, especially in conditions of dramatic warfare, the Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC), in the context of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s actions for the protection of the Natural Environment, The OAC, together with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the European Christian Environmental Network, is organizing an International Ecological School at the premises of the Foundation, from 11 to 18 November 2023, with the central theme of WATER.

The questions stem from the fact that we experienced the warmest October in 15 years, combined with the announcement by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) that the Summer of 2023 was the warmest on Earth since organized scientific records began in 1880, will occupy the work of the Ecological School, seeking answers to the question what the contribution of the Churches can be in changing our attitudes and our way of life, in raising awareness in society and in assuming our individual responsibility for a sustainable behaviour towards Nature.

The recent disasters in Thessaly, with the extreme floods caused by “Ianos”, “Daniel” and “Elias”, as well as the thousands of victims in the city of Derna in Libya from the same weather phenomenon, highlight the importance of solidarity on a universal level, but also how necessary it is for the Churches to provide answers for the next day for the healing of the wounds.

The participants in this school are young people aged 18-30 from Europe and North America and the themes of the Eco-School include issues such as Climate Justice, Water, Nutrition and Health.

The Ecological School will be introduced by the Director General of OAC, Dr Konstantinos Zorbas, while speakers from the Orthodox side will be Archpriest Augustinos Bairaktaris, Associate Professor of the Supreme Ecclesiastical Academy of Crete and Antonis Kalogerakis, Head of the Institute of Theology and Ecology – OAC Branch.

Regarding the international personalities who will participate in the Eco-School with lectures and workshops, they include:

Rev. Dr. Kenneth Mtata, Director of Martyrdom and Ministry of the World Council of Churches.

Athena Peralta, Programme Officer for Economic and Ecological Justice of the World Council of Churches.

Dinesh Suna, Coordinator of the Ecumenical Water Network of the World Council of Churches.

Mwai Makoka, Head of the World Council of Churches’ Health and Wellness Programme.

Manoj Kurian, Coordinator of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance of the World Council of Churches.

The whole issue of the Conference comes once again to sound the alarm as to what specific measures can be taken at local, national and global level to deal with future similar extreme phenomena, but also the role of Christians in the midst of small and large ecological disasters. The initiatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate are a reminder to all of us to change our paradigm in terms of lifestyle, rediscovering Orthodox frugal living, and vision for the world and the future of our societies.

The theme of this Eco-School is of concern to all of us not so much for the answers, but mainly to inform and raise awareness of the consequences of the worsening climate crisis from human behaviour.

The language is English. For more information and participation opportunities the public can contact Mr. Antonios Kalogerakis, tel. 2824022245 and 22500.

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