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COVID-19 Lockdowns Cut Deep into Greek Church Charity Coffers

ATHENS — People locked down and locked in are also being locked out of Greece’s churches during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and it has seen fewer donating less to religious charities.

The charity institutions of the country’s dioceses are under intense financial pressure as lockdown restrictions have led to a 60 percent drop in church revenues in a report on their plight.

It’s expected to get worse with a third closing of non-essential businesses extended until at least mid-March although the New Democracy government said an accelerating vaccination program should soon show results.

Churches hope they will be able to open for the Holy Week and period leading up to the Easter commemoration on May 2, later than usual, and during what could be spring weather making people want to get out.

Metropolises, churches, monasteries, and charities that receive rents from properties they own incurred losses of about 40-45 percent but are still paying taxes, the report added.

Data from the Chief Secretary of the Church of Greece’s Holy Synod, said closing churches for services has also kept out people making on the spot donations, with self-financed churches especially hard hit, collections gone.

The drop in revenues has affected the approximately 4,500 charities and structures of the Church, including nursing homes, it was said.

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