Holy Synod of Cypriot Church supports sex education in schools, will monitor content

Nicosia, Cyprus, September 19, 2023

Photo: Romfea Photo: Romfea     

The Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus has voted to support sex education programs in the country’s schools.

The issue has been a contentious one lately, with different hierarchs taking opposing stands.

Earlier this month, Metropolitan Tychikos, the new ruling hierarch of the Diocese of Paphos, came out strongly against compulsory sex education in public schools, saying the new courses are “aimed at depriving our children of spiritual fortitude, blunting their moral sensibilities, and leveling the values of our 2,000-year-old Greek tradition and conscience.”

In an encyclical that was read out in all churches of his diocese, the Metropolitan stated that according to the testimony of parents whose children took last year’s course on sex education, teachers said “unheard of and shameful” things and “made the children greatly embarrassed and uncomfortable.” The parents came to “understand what such an education is ultimately intended to do.”

However, the new primate of the Cypriot Church, Archbishop Georgios, came out in favor of the courses, saying, “we should not be seduced by extreme voices, whether they come from various circles in Greece or are adopted within Cyprus.”

And at its session yesterday, the Holy Synod sided with the Archbishop, according to the Synodal communiqué. The statement does not indicate how individual bishops voted.

The Synod “concluded that when children are exposed to all kinds of information and misinformation from the internet from a very young age, it is imperative that they are responsibly guided in this subject at school.”

“Children should be informed to protect themselves. This, of course, requires that the material is presented in accordance with the children's age receptivity,” the Synod said, adding that it “believes that some of the concerns of parents and other social groups are due to exaggerations from reports that do not correspond to reality.”

The Holy Synod states that it will closely monitor the content and the way the subject is taught, and that “groups that would impose an ideology” must not be involved in any way.

The Synod will invite the Minister of Education to an upcoming session “for an update and a final decision.”

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