Thiruvananthapuram | Observing that yoga practice was not against Christian faith, a Malankara Marthoma church in Kerala today said it will be observing the International Yoga Day on June 21 after the Holy Communion. At least 250 faithful of the church, located at Areeblachy, a rural area in Punalur in Kollam district, will be participating in the yoga exercises after the Holy Communion on June 21, which is a Sunday, Parish Vicar of the church Rev A C Thomas said today.
We have invited a yoga master from Ranni, who also belongs to the church, to lead the session, he said. During the Holy Communion service, the Vicar would give an introduction – a theological basis for yoga and the practices of yoga within the Jewish tradition. Asked if there were any protests from any section over the observance of Yoga day, he said these are orthodox and open minded people and they are living in harmony with other religious communities.
Bishops Conference of India, apex body of the Catholic priests in the country, had earlier expressed displeasure over government’s decision to organise Yoga day on June 21, saying Sundays are sacred day for Christians in the country. CBCI President and Syro-Malankara Major Archbishop Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, had made it clear that the Church was not against yoga, which was described as anti-Islam by certain Muslim bodies, including All India Muslim Personal Law Board.
However, he had expressed displeasure as important events are being observed on Sundays these days, and said the Church will raise its concern before authorities. We are not against yoga. But it is sad that such important events are being observed on Sundays these days.
Sundays are holy days for Christians. Organising such programmes on Sundays will clash with our belief, Cleemis, also the leader of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council, had said. However, Rev Thomas said, In the Eastern tradition, we give importance to the body and the ecosystem. These are created by God.
We are not against National Integration. Christian faith was concurrent with national interests. Yoga practice is not against our faith and it goes in tune with worship, he added.
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