Journal Article: Eco-Theology and Environmental Leadership in Orthodox and Evangelical Perspectives in Russia and Ukraine

[Nereditsa Church (1198 AD). Veliky Novgorod, Russia; Image CC License – Larissa Datsha)

Alexander Negrov and Alexander Malov, both with Hodos Institute (Ukraine), have published an important research article examining attitudes toward Eco-Theology among both Orthodox and Evangelical religious leaders in the Eastern Europe region. We applaud this work – and encourage other regions to do the same kind of research (and tell us when you do!) or let us know if you are aware of this kind of work that has already been done.

From the abstract:

Environmental leadership and eco-theology have not been a priority for Evangelical and Orthodox Christians in the countries of the former Soviet Union (particularly, Ukraine and Russia) due to various historical, political, social, and theological reasons. However, contemporary environmental global challenges suggest that both Orthodox and Evangelical Christians should revisit their perspectives and efforts related to responsible stewardship by humankind of the earth and its life forms. This article presents the analysis of multiple forms of data (relevant Orthodox and Evangelical documents, specialized literature, and individual interviews/focus groups). We conducted individual interviews and focus groups with 101 Evangelical and 50 Orthodox Christians from Russia and Ukraine. Although the majority of interviewees agreed that the ecological crisis exists and should be addressed, only some of them admitted that they actively care for creation. While Orthodox Christians are more active in practical care for creation, Evangelicals have a stronger grasp of the biblical teaching concerning nature and humans’ responsibility for it. We argue that Evangelical and Orthodox Churches in Ukraine and Russia can learn from each other and impact their communities: engage minds, touch hearts, feed souls, and respond to environmental challenges as an expression of their faith and leadership

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