NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The leader of Cyprus' Orthodox Christian Church says the nation's cash-strapped government has asked him for help to persuade Russian authorities to agree to extend repayment of a €2.5 billion ($3.34 billion) loan.
Archbishop Chrysostomos II says he has asked Russian Patriarch Kirill to plead with the Kremlin to grant Cyprus an extension. Chrysostomos said Thursday he believes the effort will succeed. The Cypriot and Russian churches follow the eastern Orthodox branch of Christianity.
Russia loaned Cyprus the money in 2011, when this country could no longer borrow from international markets. Cyprus is supposed to pay the loan back by 2016, but it has officially asked for a five-year extension.
Cyprus is hoping to clinch a bailout from its euro partner countries and the International Monetary Fund by March.