Old Holy Trinity church reaches deal on leadership
Fri, January 6, 2012
By Peter H. Milliken
As Saturday’s Serbian Orthodox Christmas observance approaches, the
current and former officers and directors of the Old Holy Trinity
Serbian Orthodox Church have reached a temporary reconciliation of their
After about two hours of negotiations in the Mahoning County Courthouse,
lawyers for the two factions announced the temporary out-of-court
Under that agreement, the new officers and directors, who were elected
Dec. 4, will retain control of the church, which is located at 420 N.
Raccoon Road, for 60 days, with a church meeting with another election
of permanent officers and directors to be scheduled within that time frame.
However, the old leadership will operate the church’s bingo, with the
bingo proceeds going to the church.
“We want to bring everybody together, and I think that’s a big win for
everybody,” said Greg Stanic, first vice president of the newly elected
church board. “It is a win for the church and for the membership to be
together and have a peaceful Christmas,” he added.
“It’s going to provide an orderly means of transitioning into the next
year,” Atty. Robert S. Fulton, lawyer for the former church leadership,
said of the agreement. “A meeting will be held, and due process will be
followed,” he added.
“We sincerely hope that the Holy Spirit will descend upon everybody and
bring peace and accord to the church,” Fulton said.
Stanic characterized the dispute as a property dispute, but Boris
Vuksanovich, president of the former church board, said it stemmed from
political and religious differences.
This is not the first time members of the local Serbian Orthodox
community have been embroiled in a legal battle.
Built in 1975, the Raccoon Road church was created by a group that had
split from Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church on Laird Avenue after
losing a six-year court battle over control of the Laird Avenue church.
The agreement reached Thursday follows issuance of a temporary
restraining order Dec. 22 by Magistrate Daniel P. Dascenzo of Mahoning
County Common Pleas Court, which forbids the previous officers and
directors of the Raccoon Road Church from interfering with the new
leadership or with the Rev. Dragan Goronjic, who is pastor of the church.
The magistrate directed the former leadership to return church property,
including bank accounts, keys, passwords, safe combinations and other
church books and records, and he directed PNC Bank and Home Savings and
Loan to give the new leadership access to the church’s accounts.
On Wednesday, Judge Lou A. D’Apolito dismissed the banks and two other
defendants from the case, because the new board said those defendants
had fully cooperated with the new board “and have transferred all bank
accounts and turned over all books and records” of the church in their