The Standing Holy Synod of the Church of Greece has decided that yoga has no place in the life of Christians because it is a fundamental part of the religion of Hinduism.
The official decision was taken on Tuesday during a meeting of the Standing Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, chaired by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens.
The Church of Greece was expressing its reaction to widespread media reports suggesting yoga techniques as a way of dealing with stress during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the context of respect for religious freedom guaranteed in Greece, but also of the pastoral responsibility of the Church for avoiding creating religious syncretism, the Church of Greece reminded Orthodox Christians that yoga is a fundamental part of the religion of Hinduism, not just simply a “kind of exercise.”
Therefore, the Standing Holy Synod pointed out that yoga is “completely incompatible with our Orthodox Faith and has no place in the lives of Christians.”
In addition to calling on Orthodox Christians to avoid practicing yoga, the Holy Synod also distributed a circular to the clergy and metropolitans of the Church of Greece to abstain from any event organized by the Rotary and Lions international organizations.
According to the circular, these organizations are not only limited to social events, but also include religious acts, since they have a typical rite of passage for new members and use a prayer that is addressed vaguely to a God, in the general sense of the word and not according to the Orthodox Faith.
The official circular also informs the Orthodox clergy about the new proselytizing activity of the new Protestant organization called the “Hellenic Missionary Union.”
It pointed out that “Orthodox Christians as members of the Church, of the one and only Body of Christ, do not need various neo-heretical movements, nor their various preachers from within or outside Greece, and remain faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it was originally delivered by the Holy Evangelists and interpreted by the Holy Fathers of our Church.”
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,” for the same reasons it denounces yoga again now.