To travel across the north of Romania from Suceava to Maramures is to be bamboozled by exquisite religious eye candy.

Everywhere you look there are churches - big, small, medieval, brand new, tin-roofed, wooden, painted - each has its own appeal.

What is particularly striking as you bump along the potholed roads that link them, are their sheer numbers. Since the 1989 revolution the Orthodox Church has been going great guns in Romania.

The vast majority of the population - nearly 90% - are Orthodox, and in the wake of Ceausescu's downfall the Church has capitalised on its pre-eminent position in the country, building new churches at a rate of one every three days, including an enormous cathedral currently under construction in the centre of Bucharest.

On completion, the plan is that the Cathedral for the People's Salvation will be the tallest religious building in south-eastern Europe and tower over its immediate neighbour - ex-Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu's enormous Palace of the People.

Romania is undoubtedly a very spiritual country, with religious rituals, icons and celebrations forming the fabric of many people's lives - on the Saints' Day of Constantin and Elena in Maramures I witnessed the congregation spill out of two local churches on to the surrounding hillside.

However questions are increasingly being asked about the funding of the new cathedral and the Orthodox Church more generally, much of which comes from the cash-strapped state.