Although the Russian Orthodox Church is not publicly available, news reports suggest that it owns a large portfolio of properties. These include buildings, cemeteries, shrines, and monasteries. It also owns significant agricultural land. Most of its properties are located in strategic locations and city centres. These properties have great religious value and are likely to command high prices.
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Russian Orthodox Church
In the past two decades, the Russian Orthodox Church has amassed vast wealth. It recovered its confiscated properties, acquired permission to run its own business, and received lavish donations from Russian oligarch businessmen. The profits from these endeavors were tax-free and helped to fill the coffers of the church.
The Russian ecclesiastical organization has a history that stretches back to the early 20th century. In 1927, the tsar’s forces occupied Constantinople. The bishops decided to move the Russian ecclesiastical organization abroad. The Metropolitan of St. Petersburg, Metropolitan Antony, and Bishop Benjamin (Gribanovsky) met in Sremski Karlovci on 2 September 1922 to form the Temporary Holy Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.
While the Russian Orthodox Church does not disclose exact budget figures, it does receive significant funding from the state. Between 2012 and 2015, the Church received 14 billion rubles from state funding, which is about 183 million dollars at today’s exchange rate. The Church budget for 2016 is projected to be between 34 million and 55 million dollars. Federal programs support the development of spiritual centers and the preservation of churches, and these funds are incorporated into the church’s revenue budget.
Greek Orthodox Church
The assets of the Greek Orthodox Church are estimated at over a billion euros. However, the Greek government – led by the socialist George Papandreou – has tried to impose a tax on the church in an effort to raise funds. The church’s finances are held in disparate institutions, and most of its assets are in the form of liabilities or expenses.
The Orthodox church is an important component of the Greek nation, with the Greek constitution being written in the name of the consubstantial Holy Trinity. Schoolchildren are taught Christian principles in state schools, and people of all ages make the sign of the cross when they pass a church.
The New Testament teaches that only the faithful can receive the Holy Spirit. Infants and young children are not ready to understand the gospel message, and they cannot follow Jesus’ commandments. Therefore, the Greek Orthodox Church claims that salvation is by faith. Further, the church cites St. Paul’s teachings on salvation to support this claim.
Romanian Orthodox Church
Romania is a deeply spiritual country where religious rituals and ceremonies form a fundamental part of life. In Romania, the Orthodox Church is one of the most revered institutions. According to its website, the Romanian Orthodox Church has 18 million believers – more than 80% of the country’s total population. In the years since the 1989 revolution, the Orthodox Church has been growing like never before, building new churches every three days. It is currently building a cathedral in Bucharest, which is expected to be the tallest religious building in south-east Europe. Once finished, the church will tower over the Palace of the People.
Romania’s churches have played an important role in the history of the country. During the communist regime, which lasted from 1947 to 1989, the Romanian Orthodox Church was considered incompatible with the communist vision of a secular society. Because of this, the Romanian Orthodox Church did not receive state support during this time. During this period, the Romanian Orthodox Church reacted by trying to portray itself as a victim. Despite its recent successes, the Church still faces challenges related to its history and its political and social role in Romania.
The patriarchate rejects attempts to glorify the Soviet past. It points to achievements in the 1920s and 1930s, but does not mention Stalin by name. The patriarchate’s chief aide, Ilarion, has condemned Stalin’s repression. He believes that the dictator was a monster, a spiritual freak on par with Hitler.
Aleksii II, who served as the patriarch of Russia for almost two decades, greatly expanded the ecclesiastical bureaucracy. This meant more priests, dioceses, monasteries, and parishes. This added to the cost of maintaining a church and staffing it.
The Moscow Patriarchate earns most of its revenue from the Sofrino plant, which manufactures church furniture, household items, icons, candles, and other ecclesiastical objects. This factory supplies furniture to almost half of the Russian Orthodox Church’s parishes.
The Church’s financial status is strained due to a lack of resources. As a result, the Church’s hierarchy did not adequately evaluate the effectiveness of its resources and financial management on a large scale. As a result, the Patriarch’s financial account-giving was limited to a “percentage presentation” with no real numbers.