In environmental circles, there is an increasing awareness of the Orthodox tradition, largely thanks to the speeches and initiatives of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Less widely known is the considerable body of other Orthodox writing, which is less concerned with specific ecological problems, but addresses in greater depth the theological themes found in his pronouncements. This paper looks at the continuing development of Orthodox thinking in this area, and the increasing tendency to go deep into the sources of Orthodox tradition—theological, ascetic, liturgical, and hagiographic—to address underlying questions of the spiritual significance of the material world and the rôle of man within God’s purposes for it. It takes as examples four themes: the unity of creation and divine presence; cosmic liturgy/eucharist and ‘priest of creation’; ‘ecological sin’; and asceticism. It concludes that the Orthodox tradition goes beyond the dichotomy of man and nature to offer a ‘deeper ecology’ in which the physical interrelations between creatures are set within the divine economy for all creation.
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