Despite Greece thrown another lifeline after the announcement that the EU has agreed to halve Greece’s stifling debt, many of the nation’s institutions are still struggling financially. Ordinary Greeks have been hit hard by the crisis, as well as a trusted icon within many communities.

The Greek Orthodox Church has seen revenues fall during the economic downturn, according to a report in Ta Nea. In Greece’s three largest cities alone (Athens, Piraeus, and Thessaloniki), one-fourth of the church’s 486 properties are vacant. The church also owns a sizable amount of property throughout the Greek countryside, and it there that a path towards salvaging some of that lost rental income may emerge. To that end, the Athens archbishop, Hieronymos II, just visited Qatar to start discussions with officials in the tiny emirate to explore the possibilities of opening marble quarries and solar farms on church property.

How parishioners will react to a gulf country digging marble out from church property will be a matter church leaders will sort out next week. Watch for the discussion to be a heated one when the church’s Holy Synod meets on November 1. Qatar clearly needs the building materials with a host of international events leading up to the 2022 World Cup. The solar investment may be a more palatable option, as Qatar has demonstrated in recent months that it wants to become an important global hub of clean energy innovation and sustainability. Qatar has also shown more interest in the Balkans region with the emir’s recent visit to Macedonia.

So as the BRIC countries edge closer to bailing out their western allies, look for more curious deals like this Qatar-Greece engagement to come forward in the coming years. And watch for Qatar to continue its influence on the global scene, in southeastern Europe and beyond, that far outsizes its tiny corner of the Persian Gulf.

Pictured: Interior of a Greek Orthodox Church in Piraeus.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.