At the invitation of Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, former President of Iceland, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Arctic Circle Assembly, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew delivered the keynote address in Reykjavik (Iceland) on 13 October 2017 to the Arctic Circle Assembly before a gathering of 2,000 participants from governments, corporations, universities and ecological institutions.
The Ecumenical Patriarch spoke on the importance and influence of religion on raising awareness on the ecological crisis of our time, underlining that spiritual leaders, scientists and politicians cannot avoid engaging in dialogue with one another on climate change. “In order to change what we see,” His All-Holiness declared, “we have to change how we see it. We have to change how we perceive and treat the world, how we use our knowledge and skills to sustain and enhance it.” The Ecumenical Patriarch was also received for a private conversation at the Harpa conference and concert hall with the Bjarni Benediktsson, prime minister of Iceland.
The Ecumenical Patriarch is known for his ecumenical relationship-building, his advocacy for environmental concerns and his work related to peacemaking and reconciliation. He came to Iceland with a five-member delegation on the occasion of the WCC Conference on Just Peace with Earth happening in link with the Arctic Circle Assembly.