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Church Property - Part 1

Pennsylvania
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• Is a dissident church or a religious denomination entitled to the church's property following its disaffiliation from the denomination? This important question was addressed recently by a Pennsylvania state appeals court. In 1982, a church voted to disassociate from the Orthodox Church in America and to affiliate with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (the "Church Abroad") because of a proposed revision by the Orthodox Church in its calendar. The proposed revision altered the dates of several holy days (for example, Christmas was moved from January 7 to December 25). After the church's attempted disassociation, the Orthodox Church sought a court order requiring the church to turn over all of its assets to the parent denomination. The state appeals court agreed with the the local congregation that such an order would be inappropriate. The court noted that the civil courts ...

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  • September 1, 1988

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