This case has much in common with the lawsuits filed by the former bishops of The Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Bound Brook against Holy Acsension in Clifton, NJ. We are pleased to see that the former ROCOR parish has stuck to their principles and has won this case. It is a shame that the hierarchs in both cases would not honor the will of the people who built and support the parishes.
News from Holy Trinity Eastern Orthodox Church
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Daniel F. Lula
Payne & Fears LLP
Lawsuit Against Holy Trinity Eastern Orthodox Church Dismissed
by Ventura County Superior Court
Oxnard, Calif. – March 26, 2010 – Holy Trinity Eastern Orthodox Church, founded in Oxnard more than 40 years ago by refugees who escaped from the former Soviet Union, has prevailed in a lawsuit brought against it by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). The Ventura County Superior Court has entered judgment in favor of Holy Trinity, ending ROCOR's attempt to confiscate the church's property.
Holy Trinity was founded by Russian immigrants, many of whom lost family members and loved ones in the wake of the Soviet government's persecution of Orthodox Christians. These refugees came to Ventura County to work in agriculture after World War II, and became patriotic American citizens.
In 1965, construction began on Holy Trinity's beautiful church building, located on Alvarado Street in Oxnard. Funded entirely by member donations, the church, bearing the typical Byzantine domes and elaborate icons, was completed in 1966. A plaque on the outside of the church expresses the founders' gratitude to America, and the church's articles of incorporation pledge always to uphold the U.S. Constitution.
In March 2007, after much prayer and deliberation, the members of Holy Trinity voted unanimously to separate from ROCOR after it announced plans to reunite with the Moscow-based Russian hierarchy. Holy Trinity disagreed with that course because most of its members still remember the Moscow church's collaboration with the Soviet authorities during the Cold War.
In April 2007, ROCOR sued Holy Trinity and several of its volunteer leaders, demanding that the church forfeit all of its property – the same property that the individual members of Holy Trinity sacrificed to build. After two years of litigation, the Superior Court dismissed ROCOR's complaint and entered judgment for Holy Trinity.
This now ends the litigation and allows Holy Trinity to focus on preserving and sharing the Orthodox Faith with the Oxnard community. Holy Trinity holds worship services every Sunday at 2784 Alvarado Street in Oxnard.