The day for the custody of creation is an initiative wanted by the Italian Episcopal Conference in harmony with the other European churches which consists of an annual day dedicated to reaffirming the importance, also for faith, of environmentalism with all its ethnic implications and social. The official anniversary is September 1st, but the initiative is left to the individual dioceses to develop local activities throughout the month.
In the Christian context, the development of sensitivity to environmental issues that took place in the second half of the last century was closely intertwined with the themes of justice and peace and the term “safeguarding creation” has been used since the first official documents to indicate this vision. unitary. This awareness has historically grown in the same years in which ecumenical sensitivity was affirmed, and the theme of safeguarding creation was one of the first points of agreement in the difficult path of reconciliation between the various Christian confessions.
The official documents in this regard are innumerable. We recall three historical dates:
In 1983 in Vancouver the assembly of the Ecumenical Council of Churches made an appeal to all the Churches to commit themselves to a “conciliar process of mutual dedication to justice, peace and the protection of creation” .
In 1989 in Basel the 1st European Ecumenical Assembly entitled “Peace in Justice” in which the Conference of European Churches (KEK) and the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) take part has the primary task of expressing the commitment of European Christians for peace, justice and the protection of creation .
The same two bodies (KEK and CCEE) in 2001 in Strasbourg, in the document that defines the guidelines for the growth of collaboration between Christian Churches in Europe (Charta Oecumenica) write: “We recommend the establishment by the European churches of a ecumenical day of prayer for the protection of creation.”
The Orthodox Church played and still plays a leading role on this path. The day is celebrated on September 1, Orthodox New Year, on the proposal made in 1989 by the then patriarch of Constantinople Dimitrios I who in the encyclical addressed to the beginning of the ecclesiastical year, saw all the danger for the deterioration of the environment, but he felt all the responsibility of the Church towards the work of God.