BUCHAREST — The Romanian Orthodox Church on Thursday called on the authorities to build more churches in order to surmount the economic crisis and help believers fight "despair".
"Continuing work on churches under construction and building new ones will help surmount the moral and spiritual crisis, just like the economic and financial one," the Orthodox patriarchy wrote in a press release.
This would "create more jobs and fight individualism, by encouraging solidarity among people, and help believers avoid despair," the Church added.
The statement came after the media criticized the authorities' decision to allocate large sums of money to the construction of churches, while the government plans to slash pensions and wages in the public sector by 15 to 25 percent in order to reduce the deficit.
A recent study shows about 4,000 churches have been built in Romania since the fall of communism in 1989, while the number of schools has been more than halved.
About 19.5 million Romanians out of a total population of 21.5 million declared themselves as Orthodox believers in the latest census.