PRESS Bulletin from the Standing Holy Synod regarding the taxation of the Church of Greece

Athens, September 6, 2018

The Standing Holy Synod of the Church of Greece convened on Thursday, September 6, 2018 in its third sitting for the month of September of the 162nd Synodical Period, under the presidency of HB Ieronymos II, Archbishop of Athens and all Greece.

In that day’s session:

The Standing Holy Synod ratified the Proceedings of the previous session.

Having taken knowledge of the recent decisions of the Supreme Administrative Court on the immovable property included in the Contract of 18.09.1952 between the Church and the State and in order to form a complete picture, it clarifies that these decisions regard income tax on a special cluster of immovable property, which the Church of Greece (as central legal entity based in Athens) has already paid out.

More specifically, in 1952 the Church ceded vast expanses of agricultural and meadow land of the Holy Monasteries (77,000 hectares) to the State with the purpose of reinstating those affected by the Occupation and the Civil War. In the face of the overwhelming national emergency at that time the Church agreed not to be compensated fully by the State but in return to receive the reduced exchange, in land and money, of one third of the value of its property ceded. The State ceded to the Church some public buildings as reduced exchange and, as a counterbalance in a contract of unequal weight and, was bound by law at least not to tax the revenues from that immovable property.

Later the State reneged and abolished that tax exemption. Through its recent decisions the Supreme Administrative State deemed that the acts of reneging and taxing were not unconstitutional at least from the point of view of Τax Law. Naturally, the Church of Greece conformed thereto and has already paid the aforementioned ensuing taxes.

Of course the remaining issue is that subsequently the State did not honour its obligations to the Church emanating from the 1952 Contract. Moreover, another question which remains unanswered is whether the State honoured its obligations to the Greek people, as to this day it remains unknown if and how many of the monastic immovable assets acquired by it really came into the hands of the landless Greeks of that time or are still withheld by the State.

In any case, the recent decisions confirm the letter sent on July 19, 2012 by HB Ieronymos II, Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, to the political parties of the Hellenic Republic (see ) in which he assured them that the Church of Greece is normally subject to income tax, while all the tax exemptions specifically stipulated in favour of the Orthodox Church have been abolished for many years now.


From the Standing Holy Synod

[Transl. into English by
Dr Nikolaos C. Petropoulos,
M.St., D.Phil. {Oxon.}]