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Romanian authorities announced plans Wednesday to erect a grandiose Orthodox cathedral in the center of Bucharest and vowed the money would be found despite the country's deep financial crisis.

"Romania needs and deserves such a church," Prime Minister Radu Vasile told a news conference outlining plans to build the cathedral in Union Square, in the capital's historical heart.

"We need something significant in Bucharest for the present and future and that is a cathedral. It will have the full backing of the government."

The announcement was made before Romania's beaming Orthodox Patriarch Teoctist, 82, and a dozen senior clergymen.

All present expressed optimism that the cost, estimated by one architect at the equivalent of $5 million, would be met through contributions and a public bond issue.

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