EGMR: Forthcoming judgment on Tuesday 19 May 2015 – Greek-Catholic Parish of Lupeni and Others v. Romania (no. 76943/11)

von Dr. Georg Neureither

The applicants are the Greek-Catholic Parish of Lupeni (Romania), the Greek-Catholic Diocese of Lugoj (Romania) and the Greek-Catholic Archpriesthood of Lupeni. They belong to the Eastern-Rite Catholic (Greek-Catholic or Uniate) Church. The case concerns the restitution of religious sites belonging to the Greek-Catholic Church which were transferred to the Orthodox Church under the totalitarian regime, and more specifically the issue of implementing special legislation to determine the legal status of such property.

After the fall of the Communist regime in 1989 Romanian legislation (Legislative Decree No. 126/1990, hereafter “special legislation”) provided that the legal status of property which had belonged to the Greek-Catholic Church would be determined by joint commissions comprising representatives of both denominations taking account of the “wishes of the adherents of the communities which own these properties”. In the event of disagreement, a party with an interest in bringing proceedings could do so under ordinary law.

The applicant organisations were dissolved in 1948, and in 1967 a church and an adjoining courtyard which had belonged to the Greek-Catholic Parish of Lupeni were transferred to the ownership of the Romanian Orthodox Church. The applicant parish was legally re-established on 12 August 1996 ...

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