Christian Leaders Discuss Environment While Sailing the Baltic

GDANSK, Poland, JUNE 2, 2003 ( Science, religion and the environment were the topics that gathered Christian leaders, scientists and politicians in the fifth symposium organized by the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.

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The meeting, backed by Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission, is being held aboard a ship which, on this occasion, is sailing on the Baltic Sea, whose beauty has been devastated by abuses, Vatican Radio reported.

The ship, which left from Gdansk this afternoon, will make stopovers in Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; and Stockholm, Sweden, where the journey will end on June 8, with the liturgy of Pentecost, in the city’s Lutheran cathedral.

The ship is accommodating 250 symposium participants, including theologians, scientists and politicians. Among the participants are Patriarch Bartholomew I and Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

This year’s symposium, entitled «The Baltic Sea: Common Heritage, Shared Responsibility,» will address issues such as man’s responsibility in the governance of the environment; sustainable development and national, regional and global policies; and the relation between the environment, globalization and social inequality.

Similar symposiums were organized in past years by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, on the Aegean Sea, the Black Sea, the Danube and the Adriatic Sea.

The last symposium, held last June, ended with the Venice Declaration, signed at the same via a satellite connection by John Paul II, who was in the Vatican, and Bartholomew I, who was in Venice.

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