Orthodox Church in Cyprus offers assets to bail out country

Kevin Adam

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Wednesday, March 20 2013

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades (R) talks with Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos during a meeting about the country's rejection to a proposed levy on bank deposits, at the Presidential palace in Nicosia March 20, 2013.Photo: Reuters

The head of the Orthodox Church in Cyprus has pledged to put the church's entire wealth up to bail the country out of financial crisis.

Cypriot Archbishop Chrysostomos II met with President Nicos Anastasiades Wednesday and offered to mortgage the church's assets to buy government bonds.

"The wealth of the church is at the disposal of the country...so that we can stand on our own two feet and not on those of foreigners," Chrysostomos said after the meeting.

Archbishop Chrysostomos declined to give an estimate on how much the church's assets would raise for the country. The Orthodox Church in Cyprus is the island's largest landowner, and has stakes in the country's third largest bank and a brewery.

On Tuesday, Cyprus lawmakers rejected a bailout deal by the European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and the European Commission that would have imposed a levy of up to 10 percent on bank accounts over 100,000 euros. Smaller bank deposits would also have been affected.

"Parliament's 'no' vote sent a strong message that you can't mess around with the little guy," commented Chrysostomos .

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On Wednesday, the country's finance minister Michael Sarris was unable to reach a deal in Moscow for an urgent loan, but will continue to

Russian investors has over 13 billion pounds ($20 billion) in bank deposits in Cyprus and about 30 billion pounds ($45 billion) in loans to Russian companies operating in Cyprus.

Politicians are meeting in Cyprus on Wednesday to discuss a Plan B to raise funds and avert a financial meltdown.

Cyprus needs around $20 billion to bail out its banks and avoid default.

Copyright © 2013 Ecumenical News

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