October 1, 2018 | By:
His All-Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew (c) Sean Hawkey/WCC

Birds fly through the sacred

by Gary Lawless

His All-Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew, releases a kestrel into the wild sky on the Greek island of Spetses. The two kestrels released that day had been rescued and rehabilitated by the Greek organization Animas. One flew north, the other flew south.

Zeus released two eagles at opposite ends of the Earth. They met at Delphi, the omphalos, the navel of the earth.

“When will we learn that to commit a crime against the natural world is also a sin…for human beings to destroy the biological diversity in God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by contributing to climate change, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, land and air – all of these are sins.”
His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew

two dark birds flew from Thebes.
One established the Siwa Oasis oracle in Libya.
One established the oracle at Dodona, Greece.
At Dodona, the bird flew to an oak.
The wind would stir the leaves, the sound
recognized by the birds as the voices of the gods.

“We have lost the spirit of worship. We are no longer respectful pilgrims on this earth; we have been reduced to careless consumers or passing travelers.”
His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew

after the rain stopped, Noah released a raven. The raven did not return.
Next he released a dove, which returned, finding no other place to land.
He waited seven days, and released the dove again.
The dove returned, with a freshly plucked olive branch in its mouth.
Seven days later, he again released the dove.
This time the dove did not return, having set foot on land.

“A merciful heart…It is a heart on fire for the whole of Creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, for demons and for all that exists.”
St. Isaac the Syrian

and the birds,
flying through the Sacred
every day.


In June of 2018 Gary Lawless and Beth Leonard traveled to Greece to attend the “Toward a Greener Attica – Preserving the Planet and Protecting its People” conference, called by His Al-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, and held in Athens and the islands of Spetses and Hydra.

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