CHURCHES and charities are unable to help relieve the suffering
being experienced by the Greek people as the financial crisis
escalates, because their own bank accounts have been frozen.
The Senior Chaplain of St Paul's, Athens, Canon Malcolm
Bradshaw, said that the situation was "incredibly worrying.
Everyone is full of anxiety and fear. . . Charities and churches
who work with the elderly and the poor are struggling to find money
themselves. Our own bank accounts have been frozen.
"There is nothing here, no money coming in - we have been
completely cut off. We can't do much at all to support those in
The banks have been closed for a week, and a limit of €60 per
day has been imposed on customers taking money from cash machines.
Pensioners were unable to collect their pensions on the usual day,
Tuesday; but, on Wednesday, the government announced that
pensioners would be able to take out €120 to last them the
The government has called a referendum on Sunday to enable the
public to vote whether to accept the terms of a bailout deal
offered by their creditors, who are led by Germany.
But the referendum document, Canon Bradshaw said, was four pages
long, and contained complex details, and information about the
"Many people did not understand it, and might well say: "We have
a government that supports Greece, and we will vote in the way they
want, which is to vote no."
Canon Bradshaw said that, although he and his wife could leave
for Britain, he would not go. "It would be like the captain leaving
the sinking ship. I am here to represent the Archbishop of
Canterbury. He has written this week to the Archbishop of Athens to
express his concern at the situation."
He asked for prayer. "I would ask people to pray that wisdom may
prevail in Brussels and in Greece. I know we have many supporters
who will want to help us to help those who are suffering, when the
banks are open again. But will they open again? And, if they do,
will they be empty?"
Welfare provision is in near collapse, it has been reported. The
number of people using a homeless shelter in Athens has more than
doubled in five months.
The charity Médecins du Monde was set up in Athens to treat sex
workers and drug addicts, but is now spending most of its time and
resources helping ordinary Greeks with emergency health-care.