Friday, October 21, 2011

Cash strapped Greeks increasingly demand the Church pay its share

As with any disaster, humans regularly turn to God for help and it seems the Greek government is no different.

The Greek Orthodox church – Greece's second largest landowner after the government – has come under fire for not paying enough in taxes on its assets.

One group to join the protests in Athens against austerity measures is Make the Church Pay. Its members are fed-up with the inadequacy of the church administration to support their country in its hour of need. A similar Facebook group – Tax the Church – has 100,000 supporters.

"They simply don't pay. They are so rich, and yet their contribution is minimal," says Theodora, one of the protesters.

The scale of the Greek Orthodox Church's assets shed light on this resentment. The exact value of the Church of Greece, including land, property, artifacts, commercial revenue and shares in government companies, is unknown but experts estimate the 500-plus monasteries, 7,945 parishes, 130,000 hectares of land and 1.5pc stake in the Bank of Greece is worth €7bn to €15bn.
Read the rest here.

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