Sofia this week approved an extra budget of 21.7 million Bulgarian leva (US$11.8 million) to cover state subsidies for religious denominations including the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and Muslims.
The move comes as various religions in the country are reportedly finding it harder to cover their own costs.
The former is to be awarded 15 million leva and minority Muslims 5.7 million leva, The Sofia Globe reports on April 24.
The enhanced funding is in line with amendments to the Eastern European country’s Religious Denominations Act over the last 18 months, the cabinet said in a statement.
Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said the money also shows how the government has kept its promises to the Holy Synod, which governs the country’s Orthodox Church, and the Chief Mufti.
“So today, Great Wednesday, as we undertook the commitment to the Holy Synod, the priests can get their salaries, as the law requires,” he said, referencing how April 24 was a part of Holy Week for Orthodox Christians.
The changes made this year to the aforementioned act include a number of provisions that allow for debts religious denominations owe to the state to be delayed, including social security payments.
This effectively cleared legal blockages that had resulted in Muslim clergy and other religious members not receiving their wages, the media reports.