Just a day after he announced that the Government would not allocate funds for the Church in 2016, the Government changed tack. Premier Dacian Ciolos assured the Head of the Romanian Orthodox Church on Sunday morning that the Government would finance churches currently under construction, based on financial possibilities.
“In the morning of December 6, Premier Dacian Ciolos had a phone conversation with His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel, over the issue of budget allocations in 2016. The talks once again outlined the Patriarchy’s good understanding of the financial-budgetary situation Romania is experiencing. The 2016 budget for religious denominations is higher year-on-year both in what concerns the clerical and non-clerical personnel, as recognition of the important social role that the representatives of religious denominations have, the role of the Orthodox Church being, of course, fundamental from this point of view. At the same time, His Beatitude emphasized that the Church will actively support the Government’s initiatives to improve the educational conditions offered to children and youth in rural areas and the quality of medical services in hospitals. Premier Ciolos thanked the Church for its involvement in these two directions that are extremely important for the development of Romanian society. Likewise, Premier Dacian Ciolos assured the Patriarch that the Romanian Government will offer financing for important investment projects and that there is all openness toward offering financial resources for churches currently under construction, on the basis of existing financial possibilities,” a communiqué posted on the Government’s website reads.
Patriarchy: Premier assures that Gov’t will look for solutions to support construction of Cathedral
The Patriarchy points out that in his talk with Patriarch Daniel the Premier said that the 2016 budget entails the hiking of clergy’s salaries, that the Government will look for solutions to support the construction of the National Cathedral and that other churches currently under construction could be supported through amendments to the budget.
“Following the phone talk that Premier Dacian Ciolos had with His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel on the morning of December 6, the Premier pointed out that the new 2016 budget entails salary hikes for the clergy and that the Romanian Government will look for solutions in order to continue to support the construction of the National Cathedral. Likewise, during upcoming budget amendments, other churches currently under construction will be supported, on the basis of existing possibilities,” a communiqué remitted by the Romanian Patriarchy to Mediafax reads.
According to the aforementioned source, during the talks it was agreed for the Government and the Church to continue having “relations of cooperation and common understanding of the priorities for the benefit of the Romanian people.”
“The Romanian Patriarch thanked Premier Dacian Ciolos for his understanding and support for the Church. At the same time, His Beatitude emphasized that the Church will actively support the Government’s initiatives to improve the educational conditions offered to children and youth in rural areas and its efforts to improve the quality of medical services in hospitals,” the communiqué reads.
Patriarch Daniel stated on Saturday that the Romanian Orthodox Church agrees with giving up public sector salaries provided it is given back the assets abusively confiscated, so as to avoid “waiting for handouts all the time.”
“So, we do not need state handouts all the time, but the state should give us back what it took from us as donations the Church freely consented to. When this balance is restored we will no longer need to collect salaries from the state and all the rest,” His Beatitude Daniel stated.
The state’s contribution to the clergy’s salaries will rise to RON 315.1 M next year, up from RON 278.3 M this year, and its contribution for the support of Romanian churches abroad will rise from RON 12.8 to RON 13 M, the Finance Ministry informs.
The Finance Ministry pointed out in a communiqué that the 2016 draft budget stipulates the hiking of the financial support offered to Romanian churches abroad, from RON 12.8 M this year to RON 13 M in 2016, and the budget continues to include the RON 1.3 M earmarked for the Prodromu Romanian Skete on Mount Athos.
The 2016 draft budget, currently in public debate, does not feature funds for the construction of new churches or for the modernization of existing churches, however it features higher sums for the salaries of priests.