Prague, July 17 (CTK) – Churches and religious organisations received 3.49 billion crowns from the state in 2016, including 1.37 billion for their operation from the Culture Ministry and 1.44 billion for church schools from the Education Ministry, according to the recently released budget’s final account.

Compared with 2015, the state expenditures on churches dropped by 1.9 percent, or by 67.3 million crowns.

Within the law on state-church property settlement that took effect in 2013 and actually introduced the separation of the churches from the state, the state contribution to the operation of churches will gradually decrease until 2030 when no contribution is to be paid anymore.

Apart from salaries of priests, the Culture Ministry granted 251 million crowns in subsidies for the reconstruction of architectonic heritage and for support of cultural activities to churches.

The Education Ministry supported church schools and also centres and clubs for children ran by religious groups.

Last year, 139 Czech church educational facilities received state support.

The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry provided 253 million crowns to churches in 2016, including for social services and fostering of children. The foreign and agriculture ministries gave 89 and 42 million crowns to churches, respectively. Other ministries paid smaller sums to churches last year.

Moreover, the churches received approximately two billion crowns from the state in compensation for former church property that was nationalised after the 1948 communist coup and cannot be returned to them. The Roman Catholic Church got a majority of the compensation, roughly 1.3 billion crowns.

In 2016, the Catholic Church released a summary of its economic activities in the previous year for the first time. In 2015, the church invested 1.2 billion crowns to gain profit in future and one million crowns in education, health care, social services and heritage conservation.

Generally, the church invested in four fields: farming and forestry, real estate, its own investment funds, and business projects organised by dioceses.

($1=22.842 crowns)