|My sweet Alethia, I never knew how she was killed, or the other two cats that disappeared that day, only that my neighbour was working in his field|
I got the best news a girl could get today. My friend Vanessa tagged me in a post on Facebook. This is what it said:
Church of Cyprus And Animal Cruelty On July 27, 2014, CVA President Mary Anastasi, Secretary Stella Stylianou and spokesman Mr. Dinos Agiomammitis, visited Bishop Isaiah at the Bishopric of Tamasou and Pera Orinis. Accompanying us was Mrs. Christina Nellist who arranged the meeting and who has been striving for animal protection for many years. Fearing the possible reluctance of the Church to tackle matters concerning animal welfare, a subject that is not popular and many times unpleasant, we were doubtful that this visit would prove otherwise. It was indeed a great and wonderful surprise to hear Bishop Isaiah’s affirmation that animals are part of God’s creation and that any cruelty or abuse to animals is a sin. We particularly welcomed the news that the status of an animal's souls has nothing to do with the way they should be treated which is will love and compassion. We left the meeting with the best impressions and hopes that the Church will finally embrace animals. We were asked to write a letter to the Holy Synod, explaining the current animal welfare problems and asked the Church to address the people on the subject of animal cruelty. On September 24, 2014 we received a letter from the Holy Synod, dated September 15, 2014, pledging that the Church of Cyprus will remind its Christian followers, of the proper way of treating animals! This news is indeed an historic and positive step and one we have all been striving to achieve. We believe that the involvement and guidance of the Church in matters of animal welfare and protection will, if the followers of Christ truly listen, bring desired changes in attitudes and to an end to unorthodox practices. We await with excitement to hear the so-long awaited announcement. We would like to thank Bishop Isaiah for his most warm welcome and of course his positive traditional views regarding animals and their welfare, as well as his willingness to present this subject to the Holy Synod. Of course we wholeheartedly thank Christina Nellist, theologian and presbytera, for her involvement in bringing clarity on the Church's teachings on this important subject. CYPRUS VOICE FOR ANIMALS
I feel so reassured by this. Not that I think change will come overnight. But change will come. The Church has long needed to attend to the situation in Cyprus. Animal welfare has not been what it should be in an Orthodox country. I have always felt like the ancient Chruch should be leading the way in good stewardship over all of creation. It's a gift, after all, and we were left in charge, to till it and to keep it. To keep it. Let's remember that.
There are many more historically Orthodox countries where the Church clergy needs to speak out, to teach, to remind the laity. They may need a reminder themselves. That's OK. As long as they are willing to learn. The Church is here to extend mercy as well, to all of us. We all are fallen. We all are disfigured. But we were created good. In God's image. We have yet to receive His likeness, but perhaps we are on our way.
I can die happy now. Secure in the knowledge that people will carry on. They care. They know what needs to be done, and, with courage, will prevail. Knock and it shall be opened unto you. Seek and you shall find. Ask and you shall be given.
Bravo to the Cyprus Voice for Animals for knocking, for seeking, and for asking. That took courage, and we were all greatly rewarded for your courage. Thank you.
There are other historically Orthodox countries where the brave animal welfare seekers need to go in love and respectfully speak to the bishops. Romania, Russia, Greece, Serbia...go, knock, seek, ask, be brave. We need to lead the way. Jesus Christ is the answer. To everything.