Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Romania Church Starts Bribery Probe

The Archbishop of Tomis, in eastern Romania, has launched an internal investigation following media reports that high-ranking officials from the Orthodox Church allegedly asked for money in order to illegally facilitate the enrollment of a journalist at a church school.

The daily newspaper Romania Libera on Tuesday published an undercover investigation, documenting how Archbishop Teodosie allegedly asked for money and other material advantages in exchange for his help. A journalist from the newspaper apparently bribed the Archbishop in order to be enrolled at the Teology University in Constanta, eastern Romania, not having the necessary studies required to attend the university.

"We have started an internal inquiry to check out if media allegations are true", a church spokesperson said.

Around 85 per cent of the population in Romania belong to the Orthodox Church and the Church remains the most trusted public institutions, according to polls.

But the Orthodox Church has often been marred by allegations of corruption and nepotism. After the fall of communism, the Church has never admitted that it cooperated with the regime, though some bishops have admitted to collaborating.

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