Unlike the ROC, the European churches are forbidden to do business
Interesting post in many respects clarifying the relationship of Church, state and society in different countries, wrote the blogger Andreas1408:
“I had a chance to visit the Russian Orthodox Church in Salzburg. Myself I am not a Church-going, but have friends who baptized the baby, well, I was invited to attend… More to the point…
The building of the Church looks very Orthodox. Small, inconspicuous, hidden behind high-rise buildings, road with one-way traffic and even the square was demolished in order to build it. The dome is so obscenely small. Inside more than modest. The temple is more like a Protestant because of his exaggerated modesty. The parish is large enough. Service happens regularly. There is a parochial school, which taught Russian language, literature and history, there is also a choir.
But the most amazing thing is that ALL FREE. Yes, the baptisms, the Liturgy for the health, for the peace and whatever else. To pay for anything not necessary. There is only a box for donations in the corner, drop what you can afford. AND EVEN CANDLES CAN CARRY YOUR… EVEN FROM ANOTHER CHURCH, YOU CAN BRING…
I was very pleasantly surprised. And even in God almost believed… But it’s not the Church, and in the Austrian laws that prohibit commercial activity of religious institutions.
Many commentators were quick to note that in Austria and Germany there is a Church tax or as some put it – the price for faith, therefore the Church, including the Russian Orthodox Church, can afford not to take money for their services with members. Was different ridiculous statements, like 9 – 11 percent of salary pay at all every employee, or only those who identify themselves with a particular faith, etc… so I decided today to dispel all these myths…
First Church tax is really exists in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other European countries. I live in Germany… I’m a little googling, talked on this subject with friends and colleagues. And here’s what I learned:
– Church tax (Kirchensteuer) has existed since the late 19th century. Was created in order to separate state and Church and make them independent from each other;
– You pay tax only two historical denominations: Catholics and Protestants. Orthodox, Muslims, Buddhists and all the rest do not pay;
– Collects state taxes, after transfers to the possession of the churches;
– MOST IMPORTANT – the size of the Church tax, 9% income tax (NOT on INCOME);
Is not an additional tax. Roughly speaking: you give 9% of income tax to the Church, 91% of the state. You don’T pay more taxes than non-believers;
– Everyone can give. In this case, the Church can deny you certain services. No one will forbid you to attend Church or to pray;
– All services of the Church for Catholics and Protestants (paying this tax) free. A large part of the revenue from taxes is spent on carrying out services and maintenance of churches. Part of it goes to financing kindergartens, schools for children with development problems, nursing homes, and various international charity organizations.
By the way, for admission to Catholic or Evangelical kindergarten is not necessary to be a believer or baptized or something. You just have to apply and if there is room, your child will… and it will be absolutely free.