The new agreement reached between the State and the Church of Cyprus provides for a gradual increase in the state sponsorship granted each year as a subsidy to the salaries of the Orthodox clergy in the countryside.
On the Church’s part, the deal was negotiated by the Archbishop and his economic team and they achieved an increase in state sponsorship of more than €1 million per annum from 2021 onwards.
As stated in the phlienews.com, with this revised agreement tabled yesterday in the Parliament, the Archbishop obtained a Government grant for the salary of 850 clerics in total, amounting to €7,534,553 annually, starting from 1/1/2024. The Ministry of Finance, yesterday -after the Archbishop gave his blessings- submitted the revised agreement to the parliament in the form of a draft law.
With the institutionalization of the agreement, the issue that had been perpetuating since 1971 will be definitively and irrevocably settled; the transfer of 15,564 acres of ecclesiastical land to the State in exchange for subsidizing the monthly wages of priests, an amount of € 681.86, working in countryside churches. At that time, all the areas outside the city walls were defined as countryside, which had as a result, municipalities such as Strovolos, Aglantzia, Latsia, Lakatamia and Mesa Gitonia to be considered as countryside for subsidization purposes. The subsidy includes the 13th salary.
At the same time, the bill in question changes the procedure of payment of the state funding. Instead of paying each clergyman in his personal bank account each month a flat rate from the Republic, a payment will be made annually to the Central Ecclesiastical Fund and the Church of Cyprus will assume the salaries of the priests in full, according to its internal procedures. It is estimated that the discussion of the bill before the Parliamentary Committee on Financial and Budgetary Affairs will begin after the summer vacation.