One can agree that it is a very rare phenom to see solar panels on the top of the roof of the house of God. Moreover, when solar energy panels are seen on the roof of an Orthodox church, known for its conservatism, the challenge to reconsider your view on Orthodoxy and its approach to stewardship of creation becomes irresistible.
The Armenian Weekly Magazine published a very good story about how Armenia, a little country in South Eastern Europe leads many larger countries in research and investment of renewable energy. According to the story there is a high level of scientific expertise in the country that has already been working on renewable energy technologies, demonstrate the studies in the solar and wind power. Armenia is looking forward focusing on the market opportunities and strategic advantages of solar and wind energy in the context of its overall and regional energy needs.
After the energy crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Armenia moved quickly developing an expertise in the renewable energy as it has no oil or natural gas resources. Now, the country exports energy to neighboring Georgia and offers to sell energy to Turkey, positioning itself as a regional hub for clean and renewable energy center. Today a significant percentage of cars in Armenia are powered by natural gas, which burns cleaner than petroleum fuel.
The image in this story is the rooftop of St. Sargis Armenian Orthodox Church in the capital Yerevan. A 2 kW photovoltaic station is assembled and laminated by the specialists from the State Engineering University of Armenia. It is pleasantly surprising to see one of the early Christian churches to lead in the global stewardship of the creation by using and advocating solar energy, installing it on church's rooftop.
The Orthodox Church is not a newcomer in advocating for green lifestyle and conservation. Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople (Istanbul) is known as The Green Patriarch. Named like that by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, he has been bringing principal scientists, environmentalists, religious leaders from all faiths, and policy makers from all over the world together to work on the ecological crisis since 1997.
Applauding the Armenian Church for this type of clean energy leadership we hope to see many more churches joining the initiative and preaching renewable energy and green lifestyle by personal example.
Written by Armen Hareyan