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Cyprus Church Leader Promises Help Amid Crisis

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) â¿¿ The leader of Cyprus' Orthodox Christian church vowed to do all he can so that ordinary people "won't go hungry" amid the country's worst financial crisis in decades.

Archbishop Chrysostomos II said the church's property belongs to the people, but "dignity" prevents them from asking for help. He said he has instructed parish priests to discreetly seek out those in need.

Chrysostomos said after Sunday's liturgy that the church would help create jobs "so that smiles can return to our people's faces again."

Cyprus' jobless rate now stands at 15 percent, but economists fear a significant spike in the months ahead following a financial rescue agreement with the country's eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund that has decimated the troubled banking sector and choked businesses.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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