3/24/13, "Head of Cyprus's Orthodox church urges exit before eurozone collapses," UK Guardian, Miriam Elder
"The powerful head of the Orthodox church in Cyprus recommended his country prepare to abandon the euro as talks on an EU bailout came down to the wire.
Chrysostomos II endorsed the position, increasingly popular inside
Cyprus, alongside an appeal to Russian investors to continue banking
with the island despite the threat of a government raid on their
"The euro cannot last," Chrysostomos told Realnews, a
Greek newspaper. "I'm not saying that it will crumble tomorrow, but with
the brains that they have in Brussels, it is certain that it will not
last in the long term, and the best is to think about how to escape it.
"It's not easy, but we should devote as much time to this as was spent on entering the eurozone." Anger with the European Union
has been steadily growing as Cypriots blame Brussels for failing to
agree the bailout needed to save the country from financial collapse.
archbishop's comments carry considerable weight on the island, and not
just because of his religious position. More than just a spiritual haven
for Cypriots, the Orthodox church is the country's biggest landowner
and a major investor in everything from hotels and construction to a
brewery. It also holds a majority stake in Hellenic Bank, Cyprus's third
Last week, the church said it was prepared to mortgage its properties
in order to contribute to saving the island's struggling economy.
said in a second interview, published on Sunday, that he would appeal
to rich Russian investors not to flee the island. A proposed levy on
accounts over €100,000, designed to contribute to underpinning of a
tranche of the bailout worth €5.8bn (£4.95bn), would hit foreign
investors particularly hard. Russians are believed to hold nearly half
of all deposits in Cypriot banks.
An estimated 50,000 Russians
live on the island, taking advantage of its favourable financial
infrastructure as well as close cultural ties between the two countries.
Most people in Russia and Cyprus are Orthodox believers.
said he would host a dinner on Thursday for the heads of Russian
businesses active in Cyprus in an effort to convince them to remain on
the island despite the growing uncertainty, the Greek newspaper
Kathimerini reported on Sunday. "He went on to say that Cypriot people
have got used to living comfortably, and should now learn to live on
tighter budgets as well," the newspaper reported." top photo, "Orthodox archbishop Chrysostomos II: "It is certain that [the euro] will
not last … and the best is to think about how to escape it."
Photograph: Katia Christodoulou/EPA" via Zero Hedge
3/25/13, "Cyprus Church Loses EUR100 Million, Curses Those Responsible," Zero Hedge