Since the time of the Byzantine Empire, the Orthodox Church has kept September 1st as The Church Liturgical New Year. In recent years, following the inspiration of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Orthodox churches have also kept September 1 as The Day of Prayer for Creation. This year, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America issued an archpastoral letter on The Beginning of the Ecclesiastical Year & The Day of Prayer for the Creation, giving mutual recognition to the New Year and day of prayer for creation. The Roman Catholic Church this year also joined the Orthodox in honoring September 1 as a day of prayer for creation. The Church has always recognized that “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein; for he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers” (Psalm 24:1-2; 1 Corinthians 10:26). We Orthodox recognize God is the creator of the world and the Lord of all the universe. We are stewards of God’s creation. As such, we have a prayerful responsibility for the environment.
Here is one of the traditional hymns honoring the Church’s liturgical New Year:
Creator and Master of time and the ages,
Triune and merciful God of all,
Grant blessing for the course of this year
And in Your boundless mercy save those who worship You and cry to you in fear:
Savior, grant blessing to all humankind.
(Kontakion of the New Year)
And a more recent hymn from from Vespers for the Environment, September 1:
Joy of heavenly hosts, Christ our Savior, Lover of humankind
Who brought all things into being from nothing,
And with ineffable wisdom arranged for each one
To accomplish unerringly the goal which You laid down in the beginning,
As You are powerful, bless the whole creation which you fashioned.