Oxnard Won!




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

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News from Holy Trinity Eastern Orthodox Church 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   Contact:  Daniel F. Lula 
              Payne & Fears LLP 

       Phone:  949-851-1100 

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. 


Joanna Higginbotham said...

This win was by St. Nicholas

Joanna Higginbotham said...

I received this joyous news late last night by email from Reader Daniel. Immediately I went to my icon corner to thank St. Nicholas. A huge puff of fragrance came from the icon when I venerated it. There is a myrrh-soaked cotton ball tucked in the frame and often fragrance can be detected. But this was a big poof that just billowed out into my face for just a moment. Not my imagination. Unmistakable.

Unprofitable Servant said...

Glory be to God!

What a rare victory for our long-suffering, American ROCOR parishioners in their costly three year struggle against their former ROCOR hierarchs Archbishop Kyril Dmitrieff of San Francisco, MP-ROCOR scribe Fr. Alexander Lebedev, and their Moscow Patriarchate/FSB controllers in the Sergianist Kremlin!

I wonder what influenced the U.S. court to award the parish to the true Orthodox Americans on this occasion? And will Alexender Lebedev and his FSB bosses appeal the ruling to further drive the Orthodox people of Oxnard into bankruptcy?

I do believe that my own ROCOR parish could have been preserved in communion with Metropolitan Agafangel in our city if the people working for Metorpolitn Laurus (Skurla) and the FSB had not had ten years to appoint pro-union clergy and drive all of the Americans out of the parish prior to 2007.

Reader Daniel said...

Yes. GLORY TO GOD and His Saints!
Perhaps now, other fence-sitting parishes who are trapped in the union, MAY have hope that they too could win in court.
I certainly hope so.