"'Green Pope' Warns of Worldwide Catastr

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Posted by Lilly from ? ( on Monday, November 18, 2002 at 5:18PM :

November 17, 2002

'Green Pope' Warns of Worldwide Catastrophe Over New Gulf War
by Geoffrey Lean

The Orthodox "pope" has added his voice to the growing religious outcry against war with Iraq.

Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch who leads 360 million Christians worldwide told The Independent on Sunday last week that there would be "catastrophic consequences" if the US and Britain attacked.

His intervention follows a strongly worded message from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, head of the Roman Catholic church in England and Wales, and fellow bishops saying that it was a "moral responsibility to avoid this war".

Bishops of the Church of England have also declared that the conflict would not qualify as a "just war", defined by religious tradition. Both George Carey and Rowan Williams, the old and the new Archbishops of Canterbury, have spoken out against the war, as have the Methodists, Baptists and Quakers.

Patriarch Bartholomew said he hoped that the peace movement would forestall an outbreak of hostilities.

"There is a greater awareness of the catastrophic consequences, and that is why there is so much reaction against the eventuality of a war in Iraq taking place," he said.

"There is a general reaction in Europe, and in the United States itself, and I think that finally we will be able to avoid a new war with consequences not only for the region but for the whole world that we cannot foresee."

Patriarch Bartholomew's intervention is particularly significant as he lives and works on the interface between Christianity and Islam.

His headquarters are in Istanbul, and he has made dialogue with Islam one of his main priorities since succeeding to the ecumenical throne 11 years ago.

Dubbed the "green pope" owing to his interest in the environment, he is best known in Britain for a special jubilee celebration put on for the Queen by the Alliance of Religion and Conservation, started by the Duke of Edinburgh.

2002 lndependent Digital (UK) Ltd

-- Lilly
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