Austerity starves Greek Orthodox Church of funds

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Austerity starves Greek Orthodox Church of funds

Austerity starves Greek Orthodox Church of funds
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The Greek Orthodox Church is being hit by widespread spending cuts at a time when the people arguably need its services most.

There are complaints that priests aren’t being paid and building or renovation work has ground to a halt.

Under a 60-year-old deal, the church handed over almost all its property to the state. In exchange,
the government pays thousands of priests’ salaries.

But austerity means the church is being starved of funds.

Father Ignatius of Saint George’s Church in Athens said the state was no longer able to help. “Whatever we do, we do ourselves: the parish, volunteers and various donors,” he added.

Increasingly, city churches are struggling to keep operating soup kitchens, shelters and charities for a growing army of poor and unemployed.

A virtual recruitment freeze means that priests who retire or die are not being replaced, causing shortages especially in remote areas.

Some churches are seeking alternative sources of revenue: one monastery wants to build a solar energy farm.