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Greek Orthodox Faithful Submit Motion To Reargue Litigation In New York State Supreme Court

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    2004.10.26 OCNS: Published by Orthodox Christian Laity, October 25, 2004 GREEK ORTHODOX FAITHFUL SUBMIT MOTION TO REARGUE LITIGATION IN NEW YORK STATE
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2004
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      2004.10.26 OCNS:
      Published by Orthodox Christian Laity, October 25, 2004

      GREEK ORTHODOX FAITHFUL SUBMIT MOTION TO REARGUE LITIGATION IN NEW YORK
      STATE SUPREME COURT

      Plaintiffs Cite Many Factual and Legal Errors in Court Decision

      New York, October 21, 2004 - A broad-based group of Greek Orthodox faithful
      filed legal papers today in New York Supreme Court requesting a reargument
      of the Court's decision to dismiss in the case of Nicholas Pappas, et al.,
      against The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America.

      In effect, the current legal action takes opposition to the Court's
      erroneous decision that the issue in this case involves ecclesiastical
      matters beyond the jurisdiction of the Court, and clearly denies the
      Plaintiffs' civil rights as members of a New York Corporation (The Greek
      Orthodox Archdiocese).

      Members of the Church filing the action, some of whom are former members of
      the Archdiocesan Council and Executive Committee, are doing so for the
      benefit of thousands of members of the Greek Orthodox Church in the United
      States who have expressed grave concern about recent and questionable
      governance actions taken by the Church's Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey,
      and the Archdiocese based in New York.

      The current motion states that, among other issues, that the order:

      1. Misapprehends the civil rights claims asserted in the verified
      complaint and completely mistakes the issue;

      2. Itself violates the First Amendment by adopting a rule of "compulsory
      deference to religious authority";

      3. Fails to follow the law applicable to deciding a motion to dismiss and
      improperly decides disputed issues and facts;

      4. Not only considered but relied upon an improper sur-sur reply;

      5. Mistakes the organizational structure of the Orthodox Church and the
      Archdiocese.

      (For More Information, Please See Copy of Motion)

      Mr. Evan A. Chriss, one plaintiff and a former long-term member of the
      Archdiocesan Council and its Executive Committee, said the legal action was
      justified:

      "Because the court's decision denied our civil rights as members of
      the Archdiocese, a New York Corporation. In addition to the failure of the
      Court to abide by the Court Rules on filings made by litigants by its
      reading and reliance upon the Defendant's sur-sur reply, the Court failed
      to consider the true issue in the case which is the Archdiocese's
      failure to follow the requisite procedure for revision of its 1977
      Charter, misapplied the applicable law, and made erroneous findings of
      material facts."

      "The plaintiffs felt obliged to file this motion, particularly in light of
      the inaccuracies in the language of the decision," said Peter Haikalis,
      President of the Orthodox Christian Laity. "All we have ever wanted is a
      fair, impartial and honest discussion regarding Orthodoxy in America and
      the arguments put forward in the motion and the supporting documentation
      will clarify some of the misconceptions which have surfaced.
      Haikalis went to say, "The governance of the Eastern Orthodox church is
      conciliar where hierarchy, clergy and laity collaborate in good faith and
      with mutual respect. The 2003 Charter seriously erodes that historic
      concept in the United States and severely diminishes the voice and
      participation of clergy and laity in church governance. It is this radical
      departure that has troubled Greek Orthodox around the country, especially
      as their role has been so vital to the Church's life and growth in America.
      They are further concerned as they are confronted with demands by the
      Archdiocese for sharp increases in monetary support from local parishes
      because of the Archdiocese's serious and increasing debt."

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