Monday, October 19, 2015

Greek govt. allows Church to pull out more money for charity

(The Independent) - The anti-establishment credentials of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras may have taken another knock with news that cash withdrawal limits have been raised – but only for the Greek Orthodox church.

His leftist government imposed capital controls in June when fears of a Greece exit from the euro led to mass withdrawals from Greek bank accounts. But now, after lobbying by the church, dioceses will be able to withdraw €10,000 (£7,400) a month while the archdiocese in Athens will have access to €20,000 a month. In contrast, Greek citizens can withdraw only €60 a day in cash from their banks.

The Holy Synod, the executive arm of the Greek church, said the measure was needed to allow its charitable work to continue. “The monthly limit has been increased because of the difficulties in delivering help to people and families in difficulties,” it said.

But sarcastic remarks from cash-strapped Greeks about “saintly cash dispensers” working “miracles” quickly appeared on Greek social media. The church said such criticism was “irresponsible”, as the measure applied only to institutions, not to individual clerics, who remain subject to the same restrictions as the rest of the population.

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