Morphou, Cyprus, September 25, 2023
The recent decision from the Holy Synod of the Cypriot Orthodox Church regarding sex education in the island nation’s schools was not final, and in fact, opinions among the hierarchs varied, says His Eminence Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou.
The communiqué issued after the Synodal session last week stated that the body “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.”
At the same time, the Synod stated that it will closely monitor the content of the school programs offered for all ages and that the Minister of Education will attend a future session of the Synod, “for an update and a final decision.”
He also denied reports that “the Synod agrees with sexual education for children of primary, preparatory schools, gymnasiums, and lyceums.”
The Metropolitan explains that hierarchs had the opportunity to express their doubts about the sex education lessons and that the primate, Archbishop Georgios listened to them patiently.
“Therefore, we decided to write for now that this lesson is necessary, but how it will be taught, who will teach it, for what ages and what topics—we’ll see all this when our dear pious Minister of Education comes,” His Eminence said.
He also argued said that Orthodox Christians should have the right not to attend the lessons:
Just as Mohammedans have the right not to attend Orthodox education classes, so parents who believe in God and keep a fast have the right to say that we do not want such education for our children, because it contradicts evangelical teaching, Christian morality.
Met. Neophytos also noted that believers from Cyprus and abroad were calling him asking why the Synod would support public school sex education.