The Holy Synod of the Cypriot Orthodox Church has endorsed the introduction of sex education lessons in the country's schools. The Synod meeting took place on September 18, as reported by romfea.gr.
Recently, a law was passed in the republic making sex education mandatory, starting from preschools to the higher grades of both private and public schools. Before the start of the academic year, the Cyprus Ministry of Education began conducting seminars for teachers who will be delivering this course. The aim of the course, according to officials, is to "empower children so they can protect themselves." The head of the Cypriot Church publicly supported the introduction of sex education into the school curriculum and brought this matter up at the Holy Synod meeting.
In a Synod communiqué, it is stated that the hierarchs "carefully examined the topic of sexual education lessons in schools and concluded that, given that children are exposed to various information and misinformation from the internet at a very young age, it is crucial for them to receive responsible school guidance on this matter."
"Children need to be informed to protect themselves. This certainly involves providing age-appropriate materials," the document stated.
The Cypriot Church's Synod emphasized that the hierarchs would "closely monitor the content and method of teaching the course at all levels of education." In one of the upcoming Synod meetings, the Minister of Education will be invited to provide information and make the final decision.
Metropolitan Neophytus of Morphou later mentioned in a sermon that the Synod meeting was held in a tense atmosphere. "The atmosphere at the Synod was not as it's portrayed in the newspapers," according to the Metropolitan. He mentioned that Archbishop Georgios, the Primate of the Cypriot Church, "demonstrated patience" and listened to the opinions of all hierarchs of the Cypriot Church who expressed their concerns regarding the lessons.
In the communiqué following the Synod meeting, it is stated that "parents' and other social groups' concerns are fueled by exaggerated rumors that do not correspond to reality." The Cypriot Synod believes "it is necessary for specially trained teachers to teach this subject and for groups that would impose an ideology, rather than contribute to reinforcing what is included in the curriculum, not to be invited to schools."
Metropolitan Neophytus proposed that Orthodox Christians should have the right, if they wish, not to attend these lessons.
"Just as Muslims have the right not to attend lessons on Orthodox education, so parents who believe in God and fast have the right to say that we do not want this kind of education for our children, as it contradicts Gospel teaching and Christian morality," said the hierarch. The sermon's video was published by the press service of the Morphou Diocese of the Cypriot Church.
Earlier, Metropolitan Tychicus of Paphos stated that the sex education lessons are "aimed at depriving our children of spiritual resilience and blunting their moral feelings."