Pope John Paul II and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leaders of Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity, signed a declaration yesterday stating that protecting the environment was the “moral and spiritual” duty of all believers. The document does not include any binding action plan, but is the first signed by the two religious leaders concerning the environment. The text of the declaration reads in part that, “We are … concerned about the negative consequences for humanity and for all creation resulting from the degradation of some basic natural resources such as water, air and land, brought about by an economic and technological progress which does not recognize and take into account its limits.” The signing came on the last day of a five-day tour by the patriarch around the Adriatic Sea to highlight environmental problems in the region. Raw sewage, herbicides, pesticides, and industrial waste are polluting the sea, and its coastal habitats are gradually being destroyed. The trip is the fourth of its kind that Bartholomew has undertaken to call attention to the environment.