Statement From Bishop Peter
Regarding HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
10th April 2021
HRH The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, R.I.P.
As we express our condolences to Her Majesty the Queen on the death of her beloved husband HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, we commend him to Almighty God in our prayers.
In an initial reflection on his life, it is impossible not to take a moment to consider its historic, contemporary and future significance.
One such is his environmental and conservation interests that began over sixty years ago and which were underpinned by a deep religious value and appreciation; he did, after all, have a saint in the family - his great aunt the Russian Grand Duchess Elisabeth of Feodorovna, religious and martyr who was canonised in 1981.
Some thirty years ago Prince Philip said,
‘If God is in nature, nature itself becomes divine, and from that point it become reasonable to argue that reverence for God and nature implies a responsibility not to harm it, not just for our own selfish interests, but also as a duty to the creator.’
Prince Philip may have been inspired by the words of St. Leo the Great, (Pope 440-461) who said in a sermon:
‘Dear Friends, at every moment the earth is full of the mercy of God and nature itself is a lesson for all the faithful in the worship of God. The heaven, the sea and all that is in them bear witness to the goodness and omnipotence of their Creator, and the marvellous beauty of the elements as they obey him demands from the intelligent creation a fitting expression of gratitude.’
Both men remind us that our modern concerns for the environment are not at all new, but perhaps we will begin to learn the lesson - though pictures of Bank Holiday litter discarded in our places of beauty as well as around our towns make me wonder.
The Rt Rev’d Peter M. Brignall
Bishop of Wrexham