Peculiarities of the Approach of Modern Russian Orthodoxy to Understanding and Overcoming the Environmental Crisis

  1. Lemma
  2. Особенности подхода современного русского православия к пониманию и преодолению экологического кризиса
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Orthodox view on technology and engineering - Ecology and the environment - Ecumenism and dialogue > Westernism and anti-westernism
  6. 12-07-2018
  7. Кулебякин, Евгений Васильевич [Author]. Особенности подхода современного русского православия к пониманию и преодолению экологического кризиса
  8. Гуманитарные исследования в Восточной Сибири и на Дальнем Востоке
  9. materialism - Capitalism - Calvinism - environmental protection - ecological consciousness - ecological crisis - Russian Orthodox Church - Anthropocentrism - church and technology
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    1. <p>Кулебякин, Е. В., & Зямалова, Н. И. (2012). Особенности подхода современного русского православия к пониманию и преодолению экологического кризиса. <em>Гуманитарные исследования в Восточной Сибири и на Дальнем Востоке,</em> (3 (19)), 96-100.</p>
    1. The article deals with the environmental position of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II, Metropolitan Kirill, who later became Patriarch, as well as Hegumen Ioann (Ekonomtsev) have devoted particular attention to ecological problems. Alexy II emphasized the dual contradictory role of science in the life of society. Noting the great successes and achievements of scientific and technical progress in meeting the needs of people, the Patriarch also pointed to the "reverse side of the coin" - the ecological problem which technological progress brought about. The hierarch saw the spiritual and historical origins of the current ecological crisis in the Western reform movement, particularly in Calvinism, which promoted enterprise for the sake of economic enrichment and prosperity. The latter eventually gave impetus to capitalism. The initial spontaneity and uncontrollability of the capitalist economy and its dependence on the demand for goods led to the fact that natural wealth became from the very beginning an object of greedy exploitation, inspired only by economic calculation for monetary and economic effect. According to Alexy II, the solution to the environmental crisis is within human reach and implies forced self-restraint, the ability to sacrifice lower earthly values for the sake of higher, spiritual ones, in other words – in the restoration of the spiritual ecology.

      This very concept (spiritual ecology or the ecology of soul) was taken up in the works of the Patriarch Kirill who payed attention to the fact that material goods and power have become the goals of human life. At the same time, he did not deny the utility of science and technical progress, but stressed that the latter should be subordinate to the spirit and not vice versa. Thus he criticized both anthropocentrism and nature-centrism (which he depicted as a new paganism). He suggested instead resorting to “theocentric ethics,” which would establish a true balance in the relationship between man and nature and thus help overcome the ecological crisis. Theocentric ethics, according to Kirill, require a global consensus based on absolute moral values of various religions and ideologies, including Christian ones.

      Hegumen Ioann (Ekonomtsev) has a grim vision of the current ecological situation. He believes that humanity is on the brink of almost inevitable catastrophe (the universal Apocalypse). Ultimately, he sees the way out of the ecological crisis in the growth of religious consciousness and voluntary self-restraint. These and other points are present in the "Foundations of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church" adopted in 2001, in which a chapter is devoted to environmental aspects. This document stresses that the Church is conscious of its responsibility for the fate of the world and is deeply concerned about the problems engendered by modern civilization, including environmental problems. The documents posits that the Church appreciates the works aimed at overcoming the ecological crisis and calls for active cooperation in public actions aimed at protecting the creation of God.