ENGLISH VERSION: Examination of ROAC’s appeal on the "holy relics case" postponed by Vladimir Regional Court until February 11, 2014
The Common Pleas Collegium of Vladimir Regional Court decided to postpone the examination of the appeal of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (ROAC) against the order of Suzdal District Court on the confiscation of the "items named as the relics of the Saints Euphymios and Euphrosynia of Suzdal" until February 11, reports "Portal-Credo.Ru".
This decision was adopted by the panel of judges composed of Elena Belogurova (Chairing Judge), Irina Firsova (Reporting Judge) and Svetlana Bibeyeva at the January 14 court session in response to the petition from Metropolitan Theodore of Suzdal and Vladimir, First Hierarch of ROAC, one of the respondents in the suit. The First Hierarch referred to the fact that the time of the court session coincided with the Circumcision Day service in the church which he was obliged to conduct and to the obligation to personally exercise his rights in court guaranteed under Article 35 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Russian Federation.
Svetlana Kuzmina and Natalia Lukasheva, representatives of the claimant, i.e. the Territorial Administration of the Agency for Management of Russian State Property (Rosimushchestvo) of Vladimir Region, voiced their objections to the satisfaction of this petition but the court did not support their arguments.
As reported earlier, on October 23, 2013 Suzdal District Court sustained the claims of the Territorial Administration of Rosimushchestvo and ordered ROAC, its Suzdal Diocese, parish of St. Tsar Constantine Cathedral and Joy of All Who Sorrow Church in Suzdal, and Metropolitan Theodore of Suzdal and Vladimir, First Hierarch of ROAC, to hand the "valuable cultural items of religious nature named as the relics (bones) of the Saints Euphymios and Euphrosynia of Suzdal" over to the state represented bythe Territorial Administration of Rosimushchestvo. In late November the respondents had lodged their appeal against this order and on December 23 Vladimir Regional Court set the date for the examination of the appeal. In its objections to the appeal the Territorial Administration of Rosimushchestvo noted that the subjects of the intended confiscation were not the "bones of specific individuals" but the "items named as the bones". However, the claimant did not indicate any tangible characteristics of these items.
Earlier, in 2012-13, the same claim was reviewed by the arbitration courts of several instances and the final decision on the case was taken in favor of ROAC – in June 2013 the RF Supreme Arbitration Court ruled that the relics of the Saints Euphymios and Euphrosynia of Suzdal were not subject to confiscation from the faithful. However, in August 2013 the Territorial Administration of Rosimushchestvo lodged this claim again, this time with the court of common jurisdiction, and on August 30 the wooden reliquaries with the images of the foregoing Saints were forcibly placed under arrest in the ROAC Synodal Church of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God in Suzdal.