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The first Eco-School of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Italy

This past weekend, in the blossoming park of the Christian Orthodox Parish of the Saints Mina the Great Martyr and Ephrem the New – Miracle Workers, in Sedegliano, the NGOs Comunità Rigenerativa A.P.S and Fondazione La Pannocchia ETS  Foundation have fulfilled their promise: to bring a smile to the faces of children, their parents, and also to members of the community with disabilities, and invited them all to an event celebrating the beauty of nature.

With the blessing of the Metropolitan of Italy, for two days, Saturday, April 20th and Sunday, April 21st, 2024, workshops dedicated to children’s ecological education took place, within a unique program in one of Archdioceses of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Europe.

On this occasion, the first textbook of Christian-ecological education, “From Creation to Compost,” was launched and the animated film “Creation for Children” was presented to the children, useful tools for changing environmental behaviour of children from the earliest ages. Additionally, children had the opportunity to experiment through play with simple methods of soil regeneration for richer and healthier harvests.

The Blessing service was officiated by His Grace Bishop Athenagoras of Thermae, Auxiliary Bishop of the Metropolis, as the representative of Metropolitan Polykarpos, together with the Parish Priest, Protopresbyter Petru Filipescu, and the second Priest Protopresbyter Dionigi Vidigh. From the words spoken by the bishop, the children learned about the Eucharistic foundation of Creation: “God wants us to be as good as He is, and teaches us that everything He has made and given us does not belong to us in such a way that we can do as we please with the gift received: to destroy the trees, the earth, the flowers, the animals. These are necessary for us to live, for our food, not to be destroyed, but to live. Therefore, all together we must respect and love the Earth; especially you who have lifetime ahead of you, learn, as you do today, simple things alongside your parents and friends, so that you can create a new world, a new heaven, a new earth. And God will be pleased.”

Present at the event, Vice Mayor Giovanni Trevisan stated: “Our concern, all of us, must be the preservation of nature. We are the Earth and we must respect it because it is our life, so we must get involved.”

At the compost production workshop for future flower and vegetable plantations, children learned from Presbytera Luiza Filipescu and Fabio Gallici, a local compost producer, about the natural cycle of household waste and how we can replace our behaviour as wasteful consumers with one of awareness of the value of each thing. Children were enthusiastic, attentive, and happy to follow each stage of compost preparation, encouraging us to consider broader educational programs in which to involve them.

Sunday, April 21st, was the blessed day when, just as they learned to feed plants and respect the value of the earth, they also learned to contribute to the regeneration of community spirit, through the enthusiasm with which they donated time, energy, and a sign of appreciation to the less fortunate, to people with disabilities, in the form of a bouquet of flowers.

Their vitality cheered up these people often in the shadow of society, and the bouquets of flowers created by children truly brought a smile to their faces, making them feel respected and loved for who they are.

With this occasion, the children present at the event Eco-School – Happy Flowers Bring a Smile! learned two lessons: to seek the foundation of each thing received from God, found in the surrounding nature, and to create in turn a more beautiful and better world, always remembering that they are created in the image and likeness of God. They understood through simple gestures that by giving, they will gain joy and give meaning and value to each day.

We saw happy children around the church, we saw parents amazed by the patience and enthusiasm of their children, we saw people from the community who did not know each other until now, enjoying the time spent together.

Eco-School – Happy Flowers Bring a Smile! is part of a series of events dedicated to holistic ecological education, which includes both scientific knowledge and Eucharistic knowledge, in the Christian spirit, values ​​supported and promoted by the Ecumenical Patriarch.

Source: Metropolis of Italy