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National Council of Churches Marks 20th Anniversary
of Orthodox Day of Prayer on the environment

New York, August 31, 2009 – The General Secretary of the National Council of Churches has commemorated September 1, 2009 as the 20th anniversary of the Day of Prayer on the protection of the environment, and he urged all persons of faith to take up the prayer on Tuesday. 

The first environmental prayer day was instituted by the late Patriarch Demetrios I in 1989. Since then, every first day of September has been designated a day of prayer for the protection of the environment throughout the Orthodox world. 

“The Orthodox Church has a long-standing commitment to healing the environment and Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios I marked this concern by emphasizing the need for all of us to exhibit a ‘eucharistic and ascetic spirit,’ through a Day of Prayer,” said the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, NCC General Secretary.  

“The survival of God’s Creation and God’s children hinges on our ability to embrace the very tenets that Patriarch Demetrios put forth in his first address in 1989.” 

Kinnamon expressed the hope that persons of all faiths will add their own prayers for the protection of the environment on Tuesday and each succeeding September 1. 

Demetrios served as Ecumenical Patriarch from 1972 to 1991. His successor, Patriarch Bartholomew I, has continued the church’s emphasis on protecting the environment.  

“It is our sincere hope and fervent prayer that in the years ahead, more and more of our Orthodox faithful will recognize the importance of a crusade for our environment, which we have so selfishly ignored,” the Patriarch wrote in an encyclical in 2004. “This vision, we are convinced, will only benefit future generations by leaving behind a cleaner, better world. We owe it to our Creator. And we owe it to our children.” 

The NCC is the ecumenical voice of America's Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American and traditional peace churches. These 35 communions have 45 million faithful members in 100,000 congregations in all 50 states.

The Council’s Eco-Justice program works to raise awareness in the churches and in the public at large about the urgent need to protect the environment through conservation of resources and action against climate change and global warming. See

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell) ,

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