How Different Faiths See Animals and Our Relationship with Them

Our Relationship with Animals

No matter how humans choose to treat them, the fact remains that animals are living, breathing, sentient beings. They feel. They think. They hurt. They love. The more we learn about them, the more we discover just how deep and complex their bonds are with their families and those with whom they live and interact.

Much of the justification for how humans see and treat animals comes from what our faiths teach us. What is our role in the lives of animals? What’s their place in our lives? You may be surprised to learn what different faith leaders and scriptures actually have to say about animals.

Respect for all living things

Right relationship with all of creation

Karma: do unto others

Sacred Balance – Live in Harmony

Treat animals with mercy, respect, and kindness.

Ahimsa – Nonviolence

All life is Sacred

The Sacredness of all Life

All God’s creatures have a spark of God in them

Pray for everyone, including all the animals

 “Christ Breaking the Bonds of Animal Suffering.“   – Luke 14:5   
Used with permission

The Pan-Orthodox Concern for Animals

In 2017, Dr. Christina Nellist was given the honor and blessing of the then Archbishop of Thyateira, Gregorios, and Met. Kallistos of Diokleia (Ware) to establish The Pan-Orthodox Concern for Animals and  website:

In 2019, the blessing to continue this work was sought and willingly given by the then-newly appointed Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain.

Mission Statement

Our Mission is the advancement of Christian respect and responsibility for the animal creation with special reference to Eastern Orthodox teachings – ancient and modern, in order to reduce the suffering of animals.  Our aim is to promote Christ’s loving compassionate care for all of His creatures and to advance the Patristic teachings that we as Image are to replicate Christ’s love and compassion for all of His created beings. We also aim to inform our readers that this subject has been discussed both in the Bible and by the early Church Fathers.  It will also disseminate news/articles/interviews on compassionate care and relationships with animals from across the Orthodox world, together with articles and research on a wide range of contemporary animal issues.   –From the Pan-Orthodox Website

When The Guibord Center reached out to Dr. Christina Nellist, asking her to introduce our viewers to how this ancient branch of Eastern Christianity sees our responsibility to animals, she graciously responded with the video below. We are deeply grateful for her efforts and all of the work that the Pan-Orthodox Concern for Animals does to address the suffering of animals.

We also acknowledge the recent passing of her husband and partner in this work, Fr. Simon Peter Nellist. He will be dearly missed by all who were blessed to know him.