CWN - The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against a Romanian Greek Catholic parish that sought the return of its property from the Romanian Orthodox Church.

In 1948, Romania’s Communist regime violently suppressed the Romanian Greek Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, and turned over its properties to the Romanian Orthodox Church. In 1990, following the fall of Communism, Romania granted legal recognition to the Romanian Greek Catholic Church.

Since 1996, the Romanian Greek Catholic parish in Lupeni has sought the return of its property. After exhausting all appeals at the domestic level, the local diocese turned to the European Court of Human Rights.

The court ruled that Romania violated two principles of the European Convention on Human Rights—“the breach of the principle of legal certainty” and “the length of the proceedings”—and awarded 17,821 euro ($19,191) in damages.

However, the European court upheld a Romanian court’s key ruling that

the church building being claimed and two parsonages in Lupeni had been constructed between 1906 and 1920 by Eastern-rite Orthodox and Greek Catholic worshippers and that, after its construction, the church building had been used alternately for services by both denominations …

[A]ccording to the most recent census, there were 24,968 Orthodox worshippers and 509 Greek Catholic worshippers in Lupeni ...[The disposition of property] must be determined taking account of the wishes of the worshippers in the community that is in possession of the properties.

In a dissenting opinion, four European court judges wrote that

the protection of minorities is almost always unpopular and the protection of religious minorities is even more so. Europe has a long history of religious majorities disregarding the rights of religious minorities. This is an area where present-day democratic standards oblige a majority to show restraint, for the sake of respecting minorities. Unfortunately this case shows that States are often reluctant to undo the injustice committed to religious minorities when the interest of the religious majority is at stake.

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Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9 ESV)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

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Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Seek, my child, the nobility of the soul, for it is truth; that of the body is false. Do not seek honor from men, for this injures one; but rather, seek heavenly glory . . . . You are to be sympathetic with all the brethren and help them as much as possible; and, you are to minister to them that are unable or weak. Do not desire to live by another's labors . . . . Never ridicule anyone, and especially when they are in misfortune. When you hear that a certain brother is disorderly, supplicate God to correct his life. Visit and help the sick, and serve the brethren as their servant; so you might be a friend of Christ Who, for your sake, became a servant and minister. Always heed, my child, not to fall into temptations. However, if it happens that you should fall, immediately rise up and amend yourself with repentance, and again hasten to prayer. In this manner, live your life, my child, and God shall always come to you and help you in soul and body.

St. Theodora of Alexandria, "The Lives of the Spiritual Mothers: An Orthodox Materikon of Women Monastics and Ascetics