ust downstream from Manaus, in the heart of the Amazonian rainforest, the giant Amazon and Negro rivers meet - creating one of the most extraordinary sights on Earth. The black waters of the Negro meet the muddy brown ones of the Amazon, but do not mix, running beside each other for 8 kilometres downriver until they finally mingle.
This July, their meeting point witnessed an equally remarkable event. The Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Bartholomew I, two Roman Catholic cardinals and other religious leaders joined an indigenous shaman to bless the waters. Brazil watched on live television as the shaman - wearing a headdress of parrot and heron feathers, and carrying a spear and a sacred rattle, performed an ancient purification ritual - followed by blessings from the Christian leaders.
It was an extraordinary act of reconciliation and joint commitment, for the indigenous people of the Amazon were persecuted, and largely exterminated, after the arrival of Christianity.
One of the Patriarch's most senior colleagues, Metropolitan John of Pergamon, summed it up: 'We are here to ask ourselves why it is that the indigenous people have managed to protect the environment better than we have been able to do. Let us listen with respect to cultures which have managed to survive the zeal of our ancestors who conquered them almost to the point of extinction.
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|Editorial||Treasure trees||Supporting the sky||TUNZA answers
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|Truly wild 1||Debt for forests||Nothing new under
|Endangered forests||Give as well as take||Gorilla war|
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