COVID-19 and the Renewal of the Earth
August 19, 2020 • Savanna Kearney

The stewardship of our environment is not just the responsibility of Catholics – it is an issue that bridges the divides of religious denominations, which is why the St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine in St. Augustine is hosting a special webinar COVID-19 and the Renewal of the Earth on August 31 and Sept. 1. This event celebrates the Greek Orthodox feast of the Indiction and the Catholic observance of the Day of Prayer for Creation.

On Monday, August 31, at 6:30 p.m., the St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine will livestream Vespers with Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos on the shrine’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SaintPhotios).

On Tuesday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m., the shrine will host a webinar in honor of the protection of the environment, featuring Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis, a clergyman of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and Dr. Lee Ann Clements, the chair of the Committee on Integral Ecology for the Diocese of St. Augustine. Visit https://goarch.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_LjdoDIFnR-a9l8sqX9R10w to register for the webinar, which will include a live Q&A. The webinar will be archived on the shrine’s website and Facebook page to watch later.

Since 1989, the Ecumenical Patriarch has invited Orthodox Christians throughout the world to reserve Sept. 1, the ecclesiastical New Year, as a day of prayer for environmental protection. Numerous Christian communities have followed suit, encouraged by the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches. In August 2015, Pope Francis announced plans to mark a day of prayer as well, saying he was calling on Catholics to follow the lead of the Patriarch of Constantinople and Orthodox Christians in observing Sept. 1 as a day of prayer for environmental protection.

Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis is an author and theologian serving as Archdeacon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and theological advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarch. Born in Australia, he graduated from Athens University and Oxford University. His publications focus on medieval theology, as well as on the history of the Eastern Church. His interests embrace the areas of spirituality and ecology. He co-founded St Andrew’s Theological College in Sydney, where he also taught at the University of Sydney. He currently lives in Maine.

Dr. Lee Ann J. Clements is a professor of biology and marine science and director of Academic Integrity at Jacksonville University. She has served on the boards of the National Conferences for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) and the Jacksonville Museum of Science and History (MOSH). Her research interests center around the adaptations of marine organisms to changing environmental conditions. She has long been an advocate for science communication, informal education about the environment, and protecting our natural world.

Click here to download the event flyer.