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September 19, 2022

Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy - Prayer for the Environment (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Homilies on the Great Litany of the Divine Liturgy

Prayer for the Environment 

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
 Man is not an autonomous being, a solitary person, a being who lives in an infinite solitude, but is born and lives in an environment, material, social and familial. This environment is a universal home in which there is a whole world, with all its elements, that is, air, land and sea. After all, God first created the material world and then man, so that he could enter as a king in his kingdom.

This is the reason why in the Great Petitions we address to God, the so-called "Great Litany", at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, we also pray for the world that surrounds us. "For favorable weather, for an abundance of the fruits of the earth, and for peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord." That is, let us pray to the Lord for good conditions - mildness in the air, for the fruitfulness of the earth and for peaceful times.

The Church teaches that after the sin of Adam and Eve, man's relationship with the environment changed, nature became enraged and rebelled against sinful man. Since then, a different situation has prevailed and man has been working on the land with pain and toil. But every sin that man commits has shocking consequences for the whole creation. The Apostle Paul writes that "the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now" (Rom. 8:22).

That is why we must beg God to create the right conditions in nature, for there to be mildness in the environment, for the times to be peaceful, without wars, so that the earth will bear fruit and we will be fed normally to sustain ourselves in life.

This prayer must be made especially in our days, since the environment, the air, the earth, the sea, the springs, the rivers, the forests, are being polluted by various causes, which come from man, even genetic pollution is observed. When nature is "in a hurry" to produce more, then it becomes polluted, and then it also pollutes the human body.

In particular, with this petition we think of farmers, breeders, fishermen and all those whose work depends on good environmental conditions in order to receive the fruits of their labor and to be rewarded for their efforts.

This was mainly understood by the older generations of people, who lived in an agricultural society, had a constant relationship with the environment and expected God's help, they had their attention focused on Him and begged Him sometimes to send rain, sometimes to let the sun shine etc. Today, however, when everything is industrialized, people's attention is directed to department stores, factories, industrial areas, and that is why faith is moving away from God. They release the products they buy from the earth, which have the feeling that they were produced by some factory and not by God.

However, with this prayer, the Church teaches us to pray to God for the environment, the air, the earth, the sea, the springs, the forests, all those things that give us natural powers for fruitfulness. At the same time, the Church teaches us to respect the environment, to love it, not to destroy it, because apart from causing harm to our health and harming future generations, at the same time we are disrespecting creation, God's "jewel".

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.
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