PALM SUNDAY, FEAST OF THE ENTRY
OF THE LORD INTO JERUSALEM
With the greatest possible joy and with gratitude to the intercessions of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco and the prayers of our ailing Metropolitan Cyprian, I am pleased to announce, as you will read in the attached Press Release, that our Exarchate parish, the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Oxnard, California (click on the URL above to see photographs of the Church), was awarded a favorable judgment in the suit brought against it by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA), after the ROCA's decision to unite with the Moscow Patriarchate (thus becoming the ROCA/MP).
Having refused to accept union with the Moscow Patriarchate because of its legacy of collaboration with the Soviet régime and its involvement in the World Council of Churches, the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church petitioned Metropolitan Cyprian and our Synod of Bishops and was received into the Holy Synod in Resistance of the Old Calendar Orthodox Church of Greece, which was a Sister Church of the ROCA/MP before also breaking communion with the latter, when it united with Moscow.
Immediately upon the entrance of the Holy Trinity parish into our jurisdiction, The Western diocese of the ROCA/MP filed suit against the parish, in order to confiscate its Church and property, and against the Ruling Bishop of our Exarchate, Archbishop Chrysostomos (for damages in the amount of 2,000,000 dollars); against the Church Warden, Mr. Michael Avisov and his wife, Vivian (for damages in an equal amount); and against the Church Board, accusing all of malfeasance in conjunction with the Board's decision to leave the ROCA/MP.
Though rulings against conservative Episcopalian parishes in California that have broken away from their diocesan structure presented immense concerns for the Holy Trinity parish, by God's Grace, after two years of expensive and stressful litigation, the complaints against the parish and His Eminence, the Warden and his wife, and the Church Board have been dismissed and, as a said, the court has ruled in favor of the Holy Trinity parish, the property of which is now fully and permanently under its control.
It goes without saying that we are thankful not only to all who supported the parish and His Eminence and the Warden and the Board, but to the founders of the Holy Trinity Church, by whose sacrifices it was built. We are especially thankful to all those who helped to cover the considerable costs for these long and difficult years of litigation. It also goes without saying that no one at all holds ill feelings towards those who initiated the suit.
I speak for the Archbishop, our Church, and the parish, I am sure, when I say that we feel great regret that differences in convictions and views led to such a circumstance as this. May peace and love prevail and, as the Apostle of the Nations wrote to the Corinthians, may the truth one day unite all in "the same mind" and "in the same judgment," preserving all that in the past was handed down to us from our Fathers and which we have been enjoined, by the same Apostle, to hold in firmness.
Thanks be to God for all things.
+ Bishop Auxentios