Archbishop Chrysostomos II “The euro cannot last,”

The head of the powerful Orthodox Church in Cyprus says he prefers the debt-stricken nation to leave the euro as Nicosia is striving to avoid bankruptcy.

“The euro cannot last,” said Archbishop Chrysostomos II in an interview with the Greek daily Realnews published on Saturday.

“I’m not saying that it will crumble tomorrow, but with the brains that they have in Brussels, it is certain that it will not last in the long term, and the best is to think about how to escape it,” he said.

Chrysostomos’ remarks come as Cyprus is scrambling to raise 5.8 billion euros (7.5 billion US dollars) to qualify for a bailout loan from the troika of international creditors in an effort to rescue the country from a financial breakdown.

According to a source from the European Union, the bloc is prepared to eject Cyprus from the eurozone in case Nicosia fails to reach an agreement with its international lenders.

Chrysostomos further said, “It’s not easy, but we should devote to this quitting the euro as much time as was spent on entering the eurozone.”

The Orthodox Church is the largest landowner in Cyprus and has stakes in a wide range of businesses, including in the country’s Hellenic Bank, with total assets estimated to run into tens of millions of euros.

Chrysostomos offered Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to mortgage the church’s large assets to get Cyprus out of its financial hole on March 20.

On Friday, the Cypriots staged a protest in front of the parliament to call for a solution to the financial crisis as law makers were holding an emergency session to debate rescue measures hammered out by the government to secure the urgently-needed bailout loan.

“People don’t know if they will have money tomorrow or the day after. We’ll try to live with what we have got now and we’ll see what happens next,” said Yiorgos Andoniou, a jobless citizen.Euro Greece