ENGLISH VERSION: Suzdal: The ROAC faithful concluded an amicable settlement agreement with Suzdalskaya Nov newspaper for the publication of unbiased information about their Church
On June 16 Judge Olga Kondratieva of Suzdal District Court announced the ruling on the case regarding the protection of honor, dignity and business reputation of the clergy and the laity of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (ROAC) in connection with the article "State Department in Cassock?" published in Suzdalskaya Nov in November 2013. ROAC considered the article as offensive and causing inter-confessional conflicts. The judge approved the text of the agreement signed by Metropolitan Theodore, First Hierarch of ROAC, Archimandrite Euphymios (Karakozov) and 10 laics of ROAC, as well as by Irina Belan, Editor-in-Chief Suzdalskaya Nov, "Portal-Credo.Ru" reports.
In accordance with the agreement, Suzdalskaya Nov undertakes to publish the text of the article prepared by the claimants within two weeks after the entry of the court ruling into force. The editorial office of Suzdalskaya Nov named the article "Worshipping God and Saving the Immortal Souls of the Faithful". The article, the initial version of which was written by Alexander Soldatov, gives an account of the history and the current state of ROAC, the reasons for its separation from the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (RPC), the facts related to Metropolitans Valentin and Theodore, the case оn the relics of Saints Euphymios and Euphrosynia of Suzdal, other topics that concern the article "State Department in Cassock?"
"State Department in Cassock?", the article written by someone using a pseudonym and reprinted from Vladimirskiye Vedomosti, a newspaper of the regional level, contained numerous allegations targeted at the faithful of ROAC and characterizing the Church as a "sect", "fake", "pseudo-church" etc. These allegations include statements, according to which the First Hierarch of ROAC voiced an intention to take the relics of the Saints abroad, the Church is financed by the US State Department, its followers are planning to initiate anti-government riots and have contacts with CIA agents. The aggressive tone of the article is reminiscent of the Cold War rhetoric and causes negative attitude towards the ROAC’s congregation in Suzdal among readers.
In March 2014 a group of clergymen and laics of ROAC had lodged their claim for the protection of honor, dignity and business reputation with Suzdal District Court which held four sessions on this case. The respondents were represented by the editor-in-chief of Suzdalskaya Nov and the legal counsel of Vladimirskiye Vedomosti.