Cyprus archbishop says will put church assets at country's disposal to help emerge from crisis

The Associated Press
Cyprus' Finance Minister Michalis Saris speaks as he arrives at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, March 19, 2013. Saris will meet with his Russian counterpart tomorrow. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

NICOSIA, Cyprus - The head of Cyprus' influential Orthodox church, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, says he will put the church's assets at the country's disposal to help pull it out of a financial crisis, after lawmakers rejected a plan to seize up to 10 per cent of people's bank deposits to secure an international bailout.

Speaking after meeting President Nicos Anastasiades Wednesday, Chrysostomos said the church was willing to mortgage its assets to invest in government bonds.

The church has considerable wealth, including property, stakes in a bank and a brewery. Tuesday's rejection of the deposit tax has left the future of the country's international bailout in question.

Cyprus needs 15.8 billion euros to bail out its banks and shore up government finances to avoid default and a potential exit from the European joint currency.