Yoga Has No Place In The Lives Of Christians – Church Of Greece
Greek Orthodox Church has strongly frowned upon the use of yoga to combat quarantine stress, calling it “absolutely incompatible” with Christian faith.
The Standing Holy Synod of the Church of Greece made up of the patriarch and senior bishops on Wednesday announced that yoga had “no place in the lives of Christians”, as it is a fundamental part of the religion of Hinduism.
“Yoga is absolutely incompatible with our Orthodox faith and has no place in the life of Christians,” the Holy Synod, the governing body of the Church of Greece said in a statement.
“It is a fundamental chapter in Hindu religion…it is not a ‘kind of physical exercise’,” the synod said, adding that it had decided to intervene after “various news media” recommended yoga as a means to “combat stress” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is not the first time that the Greek Orthodox Church has taken issue with yoga, with the Reverend Metropolitan Nektarios of Argolis voicing of its ‘dangers’ last year, the Times reported.
He held an event where he told the crowd it was ‘wrong’. He said: “We make a confession to God. This is the same thing that people do during yoga.”
The Church of Greece had already officially decreed in June of 2015 that ‘the practice of yoga has no place in the lives of Christians’ – the same reasons it gives again now.
Around 300million people practise yoga across the world, according to the International Yoga Federation.
But there is debate about whether yoga is an intrinsically Hindu activity, with some insisting that it is, as it uses spiritual elements including sun salutations, which originate from a ‘salute’ to the Hindu sun god Surya.
The Orthodox Church is one of the most powerful institutions in Greece, with influence in politics and justice, and actively tries to avert perceived proselytising by other religions.
Greece in May progressively began loosening lockdown restrictions imposed in March to slow the spread of the pandemic. So far the country has come out relatively well compared to other EU states, with fewer than 180 deaths in a population of 11 million.
The church sparked criticism early in the pandemic by insisting that the coronavirus does not spread via Holy Communion.