Monday, April 25, 2005

Arbitration Court in Stavropol Decided to Give St Olga Church Building of ROAC to Local Diocese of MP

(Vertograd', Zheleznovodsk \Stavropol'sky region\)

On April 6, the Arbitration court for Stavropol decided to transfer the the St Olga Temple belonging to the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church to the jurisdiction of the Stavropol Diocese of the MP. This decision is a reversal of the previous one from July 22, 2004, which acknoweleged the right of the community to its own Church building.

The parish of St Olga Temple has more than 2,000 parishoners, not only from Zheleznovodsk, but from other districts of the Caucasus, including from Pyatygorska and Essentuki. A temple was built in 1989 on the community's facilities. The Moscow Patriarchate, neither through its Stavropol diocese nor through the city administration, did not pay a penny for the foundation of this Church, according to Priest Roman Novakovsky. Only recently the building of the temple was even officially recognized, and before this the city refused to help the community in any way. All the while, the city authorities tried to disperse the ROAC community.

Mayor Anatoly Zubtsov of Zheleznovodsk, through Decree #891 from October 3, 2003, deprived the St Olga Church community the right to the lot of land on which their Church was built on. They had held the land since 1993. Then the ministry of justice attempted to deprive the community of legal registration. These efforts were yet unsuccessful. Finally, the Civil Court acknowledged the right of the community to the domain of their temple and obliged formal registration to be drafted for the recognition on the part of the civil authorities of the building.

This decision determined by the law was not appealed and it was given legal force. But then it was abolished in an appellate court. The Stavropol Diocese of the MP attacked with two lawsuits-- one for illegal domain of the property and one to evict the community from the building.

The St Olga Community of ROAC has the originals of all the financial and estimate documents on the building of a temple, work agreements, et cetera. In the same area, the Stavropol Diocese of the MP has only the documents about the formal recogniztion of the building, hurriedly made by Mayor Zubtsov of Zheleznovosk. He claimed that BTY, the city land committee, designed all the documents on the domain by building and by an area on the name of dioceses. Already a diocese by next day had certificates about all the structures, despite the fact that the question of ownership was already examined by the court.

ROAC's St Olga Church community is currently arguing a complaint in Appellate court.