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The Greek Orthodox Church is facing bankruptcy

25 October 2012 / 11:10:24  GRReporter
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The Greek Orthodox community was shocked and in a state of panic after Archbishop Ieronymos announced that the church is on the verge of bankruptcy. "The problem is so great that if we do not provide funds soon, in two months' time 300 church workers will remain without pay and will have to be fired", said the Archbishop before the Finance Committee of the Holy Synod.

The Greek Orthodox Church holds a major share of the stocks of the largest commercial bank in the country - the National Bank of Greece - and has hundreds of estates in some of the most beautiful areas of the country. Its property and business transactions are still tax exempt - a privilege not a single average Greek or enterprise enjoys, especially after the financial situation in the country worsened.

The news about the financial problems of the church is given a just place in the series "Absurdities during a crisis", together with the revelations that some of the richest Greeks are declaring their villas as shopping centres in order to pay lower electricity bills, or that shipping magnates are refusing to pay taxes.

Ieronymos's confessions did not leave church employees silent and disconcerted. Their salaries have been cut considerably in the last two years. Despite the months of lack of income, the bishops' celebrations have gathered senior "holy men" from other regions and expensive gifts have been exchanged, To Vima informs.

"Where can we find money from, since our estates remain without tenants and those rented are not being paid for? What kind of dividends from bank shares are we talking about, after the stocks have been taken away from us and the church has been left without money?", complained Ieronymos without specifying who has taken the stocks.

According to the released information, the church has bought a major part of the shareholdings in the banking sector with loans, which are currently still being repaid. Part of the church's revenue comes from real estate rents, which, however, remain disproportionately high for the shrunken Greek market, local analysts comment. Among the properties of the Greek Orthodox Church is part of the luxury hotel complex Astera - buildings, which house government departments and other organizations paying very high rents.

Tags: Economy Markets Church bankruptcy scandal
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