His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia announced in an encyclical on Friday that due to the adverse conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic, all parishes who are facing financial problems will be relieved “from their financial responsibilities and contributions towards the Holy Archdiocese of Australia for the current year of 2020.”
The decision comes as the Archdiocese attempts to respond to the needs of its parishes, priests and ecclesiastical employees, as well as employees at the Archdiocese’s headquarters and regional offices, institutions and schools under its control.
“We acknowledge that the closure of the Churches, especially during this period and during Holy Week which is fast approaching, have resulted in huge financial consequences to the income of our Parishes and Communities as well as all other Institutions which function under our auspices,” the encyclical read.
“For this reason, after much thought and research, we have made the decision to exempt parishes facing financial problems from all their financial obligations and contributions to the Archdiocese of Australia for the current year of 2020.”
His Eminence also acknowledged that he is working with the Finance Office of the Archdiocese and relevant government authorities, to ensure priests and church employees can access a fortnightly income of $1500.
“For the priests and the church employees, for whom it is difficult to receive their salary due to the reduction of income to our Churches, the Holy Archdiocese will offer every assistance and every justification in order to secure the basic income for those who request it from March 1.”
The statement concludes with an assurance that the Archdiocese “does not intend to dismiss any employee from the central or district offices, from our institutions, our schools or from our Churches.”
“We will continue to support and extend our welfare programs to our sisters and brothers who have been impacted by this crisis, making every attempt to be with them, not only in word, but primarily through our actions and initiatives.”
The clergy and the Ecclesiastical Councils of the parishes accepted the above decisions of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios with great relief and many expressed their thanks to their Pastor in writing.
The full statement: