The Orthodoxy And Sustainable Development A Potential For Broader Involvement Of The Orthodox Churches In Ethiopia And Russia

  • Valery VotrinEmail author


In recent years, churches across the world have become involved in dialogue on the theory and practice of sustainable development. A number of Western churches have expressed their concern about climate change and destructive living patterns, stressing the need for human beings to exercise the care for all creation based on a life of sharing and sacrifice. Some Orthodox churches, however, quite recently included the environmental issues in their agendas. While the Bases of Social Concept, a major doctrine of the Russian Orthodox Church adopted in 2000, for the first time emphasises the Church’s position in overcoming environmental crisis and presents a solid basis on which to build the future environmental strategy of the Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has not yet drawn up a programme document that might serve as a framework for the Church’s current extensive activities in the field of biodiversity conservation and sustainable forestry practices. Hence, despite certain closeness of both institutions, there is the potential for strengthening their roles in promoting sustainable development, based on the Biblical concept that the Earth belongs to the Lord and humans are responsible stewards assigned the duty to work for creation and care for it. This paper seeks to demonstrate by means of comparable analysis between the two Churches, Orthodox in nature but different in rites and religious practices, that traditional, highly conservative faiths may serve as powerful instruments of spreading out the ideas of sustainable development as the basis of spiritual revival in the situation of the two concurrent and interrelated crises – spiritual and ecological.


biodiversity conservation environmental education good forestry practices major groups the Orthodoxy public participation sustainable development 


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© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Ecology DepartmentVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium

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