EGMR: The Siseşti Greek-Catholic Parish v. Romania (no. 32419/04)

von Dr. Georg Neureither

The applicant is the Siseşti Parish of the Eastern-Rite Catholic Church, also known as the Greek-Catholic or Uniate Church. The case concerned an action to recover possession of property which had been confiscated from the Parish when the communist regime was established in 1948.

Prior to 1948 the Greek-Catholic parishes had possessed a range of properties, lands and buildings. The Uniate denomination was dissolved in 1948 and the property of the Greek-Catholic Church was transferred to the State, apart from parish property, which was transferred to the Orthodox Church. The Uniate denomination was officially recognised after the fall of the communist regime in December 1989. As regards the legal situation of the former property of the Uniate parishes, a section of the Legislative Decree laid down that it should be adjudicated by joint commissions of representatives of the clergy of both denominations, and that in reaching their decisions the commissions should take account of “the wishes of the adherents of the communities to whom the properties belong”. In the event of disagreement between the clerical representatives, the party interested in taking legal action could bring proceedings under ordinary domestic law ...

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