NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The leader of Cyprus’ Orthodox Christian Church said Tuesday that senior clergy and staff earning over €2,000 ($2,460) a month are in for salary cuts as the island nation’s ongoing financial crisis has seen church revenue dwindle.
Archbishop Chrysostomos II said the church’s top decision-making body, the Holy Synod, will convene early next month to enact the cuts.
He said his own salary as well as that of bishops and other high-income church employees will be the first to be cut in order to “set the good example.”
“Church income…has dropped and this matter must be dealt with at its root because it won’t pass any time soon,” Chrysostomos told state broadcaster CyBC.
But he said the church will forego cuts to junior priests who “earn just enough to get by on.” Orthodox Christian priests are allowed to marry and many have large families.
Although the church is the biggest landowner after the government and hold stakes in many businesses, its revenue has suffered as the country grapples with a cash crunch.
Cyprus in June became the fifth eurozone member to seek an international bailout in order to shore up its Greece-exposed banks