Seznam Zprávy: The Orthodox Diocese of Prague will lay off 40% of its employees

The Orthodox Diocese of Prague, the main Orthodox diocese in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, announced in an internal email that 40% of its employees, including 52 members of its lower clergy, would be made redundant, the information site Seznam Zprávy. . The Moravian branch of the Church considers the move illegal, according to the outlet, which points out that the Church is set to receive more than one billion crowns in restitution money over the next 30 years.

The email says the move is necessary given the overall reduction in costs and lower revenue. The conflict in Ukraine is also given as a reason, but without further explanation, writes Seznam Zprávy. The Church received CZK 280 million from the state in restitution just two years ago.

The vicar of the Olomouc-Brno diocese of the Orthodox Church, Bishop Isaiah, condemned the decision as “scandalous, illegal and immoral” in a statement to Seznam Zprávy, accusing the head of the diocese of Prague, Michal Dandár, of having acted without the approval of the council of the diocese. According to an unnamed source cited by the news site, the Orthodox Church is the only church in the Czech Republic that does not have an approved economic strategy or internal legislature. The source, a former member of the Church who was active in its management of the funds, told Seznam Zprávy that he fears more layoffs will occur in the future.

Archbishop Michal Dandár has been the head of the diocese of Prague since 2014. A former communist state security agent, he has come under fire in recent weeks from members of the Orthodox clergy for his alleged pro-Russian orientation.

Berta D. Wells