- Rev. Nephon Tsimalis
- Patriarchal Deacon
- Church partners
Request Support for:
- Ensuring a child-safe church environment
- Contributing to ending violence against children and adolescents in society at large
- Supporting child protection in emergencies
- Advocating for birth registration
Request Support for:
- In church activities and worship
- In society at large
Offer Support for:
- Promote eco-responsibility within the church
- Promote eco-responsibility in society at large
There is good reason why, in Christian tradition and theology, the Word of God assumed flesh as an infant, choosing to mature through childhood to adulthood, thereby progressing through and sanctifying every stage of human life. Echoing the prophet Isaiah, the Christian gospels declare that “unto us a child was born, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign for you: that you shall find a baby.” (Luke 2.11)
Moreover, there is good reason why the same Jesus Christ welcomed children and warned his disciples not to stand in their way or hinder their development—physical, emotional, and spiritual. The lips of children offer the most eloquent praise to God. (Matthew 21.16) So when we stand in the way of children, we are actually blocking the light of Christ from reaching the world. (See Matthew 18.10)
Finally, there is good reason why, when asked to describe the kingdom of heaven, Christ lifted up a child and said: “Unless you change your ways and become like this child, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18.2-3) Children should be able to lead free lives and enjoy free environments. They should have the capacity to dream and aspire, to choose their objectives and ambitions.
Tragically, however, these dreams and aspirations are all too often choked and crushed by adults with perverted motives. Children are the crowns of our lives (Psalm 17.6), “a gift from the Lord” (Psalm 127.3); they are literally our lifeline to the future. As the prophet Joel writes: “What we say to our children, they will in turn say to their children and their children will say to the next generation.” (Joel 1.3) And by the same token, the way that we behave to our children will determine how they behave to their children for generations to come.
Nonetheless, we must honestly and humbly admit that our society has often failed its children. Indeed, we must painfully and frankly admit that even our religions have often failed our children. Our Lord reserved the harshest condemnation for those obstruct the development of children, saying: “It would be better for such people to have a large millstone hung around their neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18.6)
We are obliged to speak for those whose voices are stifled. We are obliged to uphold the dignity of those whose rights are stolen. We are obliged to stand in solidarity with those whose lives are exploited, whose bodies are trafficked, and whose innocence is shattered. We are committed to promoting human dignity; we are dedicated to ending injustice; and we pledge to care for all those who are marginalized in society.
For three decades now, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has worked tirelessly to awaken consciences and encourage actions for the protection and preservation of God’s creation and the planet’s natural resources. Its inspiration for this ministry is the belief that this world is a sacred gift from our Creator. At the same time, its motivation for this service is the conviction that we must leave behind a better, more beautiful, more sustainable world for our children and future generations. All the prayers that we offer are useless if there is no world for our children to inherit and inhabit. By the same token, all our efforts for creation are insincere if we fail to protect the lives and promote the dignity of our children. We cannot let them down; we cannot be silent before their mistreatment; and we cannot turn our face from their exploitation. Otherwise, we risk hearing the judgment of the Lord: “As you did to one of these, the least of my brothers and sisters, you did to me.” (Matthew 25.40)
Commitment 1 (Child Protection)
These are areas that we are beginning to engage in on the basis of our gospel mandate and church tradition and in light of contemporary challenges, both global and social.
Commitment 2 (Child Partici
Commitment 3 (Climate Jusitce)
The positive responses demonstrate the leadership taken in communities and parishes.