Volunteer groups have accused church committees of preventing charities from collecting donations at funerals unless they are paid 40 per cent of the proceeds.

Stelios Mnasonos, a member of the district volunteerism coordinating board, said a lot of people have experienced or knew of incidents involving church officials who prevented charities from collecting donations, as per the wish of the deceased person’s family, unless they got their cut.

A recent law passed by parliament allows relatives to decide where any donations should go.

“Numerous foundations and organisations provide services free of charge, like Arodafnousa, or for very low fees, like community and municipal elderly homes and others that host children and youths with special needs,” he said, and relatives of people who died want money donated to them.

The Holy Synod had decided, apart from two bishops, to respect the relatives’ wishes but local church committees insist on their cut.

“Despite the current law, there are cases where members of our organisations are prevented from collecting donations inside the church courtyard unless they contribute 40 per cent of the proceeds to the church committee,” Mnasonos said.

He urged the government and parliament to ensure the laws were enforced and respected by everyone without exception.

The issue will be discussed by the House human rights committee on Monday.