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The High Court confirms that our Cathedral belongs to us!

It was yesterday confirmed that the Sourozh Diocese is indeed the owner of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition in Ennismore Gardens, South Kensington, and of other Church properties and assets. In this way the quite unnecessary three-year long court case has been resolved in favour of the Church. Readers may recall that the challenge to the legal ownership began when a small group broke away from Russian Orthodoxy under their Bishop Basil. They wished not only to take over the Cathedral, but also other Church property and assets elsewhere.

The ruling Bishop Elisei commented: ‘We welcome this decision, which recognises the very full and active life of our Diocese, the London parish and also the importance of their activities. The Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain remains faithful to its original aims and tasks, which above all consist of ministering to the needs of all that follow the Russian Orthodox Tradition, whatever their nationality and cultural roots. We are grateful for this decision - it means that the Church can now direct all Her efforts and available means at implementing our aims and tasks’.

The Church was obtained by Russian Orthodox faithful from the Church of England in the 1970s, at a cost of £80,000. As one of the (very minor) donors at the time, I express our joy that what we bought for the faithful witness to the Russian Orthodox Tradition is now freely able to witness to it. This is under the guidance of a true Russian Orthodox bishop, who has restored the Russian Orthodox Tradition there after decades of erring in the byways of Parisian philosophy and renovationism. This is a reward for the patient and sacrificial confession of the Faith by many after decades of persecution of the Tradition.

At the Cathedral daily services continue, open to Orthodox Christians of all nationalities. They serve a growing multinational and multilingual flock, as elsewhere in the Russian Orthodox Church in these islands. Again this year, we look forward to welcoming Vladyka Elisei to our patronal feast in Colchester on 4 July.

Archpriest Andrew Phillips

Holy and Righteous Queen Clotilde
3/16 June 2009

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