We, as the canonical bishop of this holy monastery, welcome all of you with great joy and we extend to each and every one of you our paternal blessing, invoking the bountiful grace of the Lord upon the work of your assembly here.
Your Royal Highness' presence among us during these days, and indeed here at this seminar, is not only a great honour for our Church, but also gives us all the precious opportunity to benefit spiritually from Your Royal Highness' internationally recognised and deeply appreciated experience and contribution through the efforts You have made in the area of the protection of the natural environment. Indeed, Your Highness, few have contributed to this vital area asYou have. As a church leader, it is our duty to recognise and pay tribute to this, by expressing here our own thanks and those of our Church.
The Orthodox Church has many reasons to consider the issue of the protection of the natural environment as exceptionally serious and urgent. Our late predecessor Patriarch Dimitrios had earlier stressed the urgency of this whole issue in his Message of September 1, 1989. Since then, the brother Primates of the holy Orthodox Churches, during their recent Synaxis or Gathering at the Phanar, officially expressed their full agreement on the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, proclaiming to all that the whole Orthodox Church adopts the initiative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in establishing the 1st of September of each year as a day of prayer for the protection of God's creation. As we already have said in our address upon welcoming You to the Patriarchate, Your Highness, it is our hope that the other Christian Churches will wish to adopt this initiative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and that the 1st of September of each year will be established by all who believe in Christ as a time for prayers for the protection of the natural environment.