The Metropolis of Chalkida, in central Greece, expressed its opposition earlier in the week to meditation and anti-stress seminars aimed at primary school teachers organized by Goldie Hawn. The sessions are set to take place on the Greek island of Skiathos.
The Hollywood actress leads the MindUP organization which, as its website states, teaches the skills and knowledge children need to regulate their stress and emotion, form positive relationships, and act with kindness and compassion.
Hawn has organized the seminars in cooperation with the Skiathos Municipality and the Skiathos Cultural Association.
Hawn had sent a message to prospective participants which said “I am excited that MindUP will be taught to my beloved Skiathos. It has been a dream of mine for many years now and now our new Mayor Thodoris Tzoumas and the Cultural Association Skiathos made it possible. They have the best interest of the children of Skiathos, their mental health and happiness to bloom in school and in life. Many love and blessings to all of you.”
However, her initiative has now been met by fierce opposition from the clergy. The Metropolis of Chalkida, to which Skiathos belongs, issued a stern statement accusing MindUP of promoting Buddhist religious beliefs and meditation practices.
“The ‘MindUp’ techniques and practices that are advertised as supposedly boosting children’s confidence and helping them manage their stress are based on Buddhist religious beliefs and meditation practices!” the statement reads.
“Despite assurances, these techniques are not risk-free, they incorporate practices incompatible with the Orthodox faith! Unpleasant side effects are suppressed, although they have been noted and recorded in international literature.”
The Metropolis urged Orthodox Christians to abstain from the activities of this seminar and from the use of meditation. “The so-called anti-stress practices can make no difference to the promotion of mental health and particularly to children,” the statement concludes.
It is not the first time the Greek Church has expressed opposition to meditation practices. Last year, in Argolida, Peloponnese, the local Metropolis urged believers to abstain from all non-Christian practices such as “yoga, pilates and meditation, as they are dangerous.”