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‘Yoga has no place in Christian life’: Greek Orthodox Church

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Athens:Yoga has been called ‘absolutely incompatible’ with the Christian faith by the Greek Orthodox Church and frown upon people using it to combat coronavirus quarantine stress.The Greek Orthodox Sunnah of the Greek Orthodox Church declares that yoga has no place in the Christian faith as it is a fundamental part of Hinduism. The official decision was taken at a Synod meeting held on Tuesday under the patronage of the Archbishop of Athens, Eumenimos. There was widespread media publicity that yoga was effective in combating stress during the coronation. It is in this context that the Greek Orthodox Church came to the fore with caution.

Although the Greek Constitution respects religious freedom guaranteed, it is the church’s unwavering responsibility to avoid religious integration. Therefore, the Church reminds Christians that yoga is not just an exercise but a basic part of Hinduism. Therefore, yoga is not up to our faith. Yoga has no place in the lives of Christians, he said.

In addition, international organizations such as Rotary and Lions International have sent out Synod Circulars to their clergy requesting them to abstain from religious activities. The church pointed out that religious programs that include such organizations in addition to social programs are not conforming to the Orthodox faith. The circular also warns of the activities of the new Protestant organization, the Hellenic Missionary Union. In 2015, the Greek Orthodox Church issued an official decree making it clear that yoga had no place in the Christian life.

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UAE suspends visa-free travel agreement with Israel until July

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The United Arab Emirates has suspended an agreement to inaugurate visa-free travel for Israelis to the Gulf country until July 1, citing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said.

Until then, Israeli citizens seeking to travel to the UAE will need to obtain a visa, as will UAE citizens seeking to travel to Israel, the ministry said on Monday. The UAE has taken a similar step regarding travel from most European countries, as well as India and Pakistan, the Israeli ministry said.

Israel is in its third lockdown and discussing the possibility of extending it beyond Jan. 21 as the number of new cases remains high.

The UAE ratified the agreement on visa-free travel with Israel last week and it was set to go into effect 30 days from then. The agreement follows a normalization accord between the countries signed in September.

The announcement of the suspension comes a day after Israel’s cabinet voted to require all people returning from the UAE and Brazil to quarantine in government-run hotels. A similar decision made previously regarding travelers returning from South Africa and Zambia was extended for 10 days.

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Christian Group in India Documents 327 Incidents of Persecution in 2020

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India – According to the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), Indian Christians endured at least 327 incidents of persecution in 2020. This was despite the fact that most of India’s population lived under locked down conditions for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to EFI, 327 cases of persecution were documented in 2020. At least five Christians were murdered and six churches were burnt or demolished in religiously motivated attacks. In addition, EFI noted 26 incidents of social boycotts where Christian communities were shunned by their non-Christian neighbors due to their religious identity.

EFI’s report documents the continuation of an ongoing trend of growing religious intolerance and violence in India. Since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took political power in 2014, incidents of Christian persecution documented by EFI have more than doubled. In 2014, the year the BJP rose to political power, EFI recorded 147 violent attacks on Indian Christians. In 2019, after five years of BJP rule, EFI recorded 366 violent attacks.

The incidents documented by EFI likely represent only a portion of the violence experienced by India’s Christian community. Most incidents go unreported due to fear of reprisal and lack of confidence in India’s justice system.
Sources:persecution

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