New York OCA Cathedral’s fight for religious freedom

If you’ve read the last two issues of our SOCHA newsletter, you know that Holy Protection OCA Cathedral in New York City is in the middle of a fight with the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). Here’s how I described the situation in the most recent newsletter: In last month’s newsletter, I mentioned the plight…

Metropolia beats Moscow in court

In the Supreme Court cases Kedroff v. St. Nicholas Cathedral and its successor Kreshik v. St. Nicholas Cathedral, the highest court in the country ruled against the Metropolia and in favor of the Moscow Patriarchate in a dispute over church property. But Moscow didn’t win all the time. The 1962 Ohio Court of Appeals case…

Five court cases

Sorry for the long delay between articles… I’ve been terribly busy, I’m afraid. Here are notes on five of the many, many Orthodox court cases I’ve been researching lately. These cases fit broadly into the category of “deference,” where the courts tend to defer to the higher church authorities (bishop, diocese, mother church, etc). The…

The Dionisije Conundrum and why deference doesn’t work

I’m assuming, in this short article, that you’ve read about Serbian Diocese v. Milivojevich. But for those who haven’t: the Serbian Holy Assembly deposed Bishop Dionisije Milivojevich, and Illinois courts basically overruled the deposition on the grounds that the Holy Assembly hadn’t followed its own rules. The US Supreme Court reversed the judgment, holding that…

Neutral Principles of Law in a Bulgarian parish dispute

Today I’ll be discussing Aglikin v. Kovacheff, a 1987 Illinois appellate court case involving a dispute over control of St. Sophia Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Chicago. The key question, in this case, concerns the extent of the diocesan bishop’s authority over the local parish. The bishop had dismissed certain members of the parish board of trustees — did he have…