May – 2013
THE COUNTRY’S deep economic difficulties give people the opportunity to engage in charitable activity, Archbishop Chrysostomos II said in his Easter message reiterating the Church’s willingness to donate its assets to help exit the crisis.
“The Church… is making available to the people all of its fortune so that they do not suffer and so that the country’s economy may be salvaged,” the Primate said ahead of the biggest Greek Orthodox holiday.
“(The Church) is willing, just as it has done many times before during our existence as a nation, to donate even the Churches’ valuables – those very sacred vessels – for the salvation of the country.”
The Archbishop said in March – before a Cyprus bailout was finalised with the country’s EU lenders – that the Church could mortgage its property to invest in bonds to support the economy without specifying how. When he was Bishop of Paphos, he encouraged displaced Greek Cypriots to vote against the Annan Plan in 2004 – a proposed solution to the Cyprus problem that was to be rejected by Greek Cypriots – promising to compensate those who were to lose land in the north. He later denied making such comments.
In his Easter message, the Archbishop said that the economic hardship would pass but nonetheless made timely the Church’s charitable foundations. “(The financial hardships) give the opportunity to those who can to demonstrate their charitable feelings to those in need,” he said.
But the Archbishop also said that the joy from the resurrection of Jesus Christ – the cornerstone of the Christian faith – could not be overshadowed by any financial troubles. The joy of Easter is an internal happiness manifesting as inner calm and courage from the certainty that it is God’s will and not human contrivances that finally decide the outcome of all things, the Archbishop said.
The Archbishop urged people not to lose sight of the country’s bigger problem – that of the Cyprus problem and the risk of consenting a damaging solution to the situation that has resulted in the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of the northern part of the island. “Our first concern and priority must always be a fair resolution of our national problem,” the Primate said.
“National survival can in no way be compared with the economic crisis or even physical survival… We must not be led to unacceptable compromises under conditions of panic and under pressure from our economic problems,” he said.