The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the church in Tordinci

After the Protestant Reformed Christian Church congregation in Tordinci, together with the Reformed church congregation “Dobroga pastira”/Good shepherd/ in Osijek, had separated from the Reformed Christian Church in Croatia, this  denomination (Reformed Christian Church in Croatia) had been trying to acquire ownership of the church building in Tordinci. In 2005, the Reformed Christian church in Croatia sued the congregation in Tordinci with the request to erase, from the Public ownership record, the congregation in Tordinci as the owner of the real estate, claiming that the building belongs to plaintiff, not to defendant. The defendant, Tordinci congregation, was denied as the legal entity and claimed not to have the right of ownership. But, the Municipal court in Vinkovci ruled in favor of the defendant, on the basis that the plaintiff’s complaint was unfounded.
 
The prosecutor filed and appeal to the County court in Vukovar which confirmed the ruling of the Municipal court in Vinkovci. The prosecutor went on to the Supreme Court and filed for the revision of the current law on religious communities, but Supreme Court confirmed that the complaint was unfounded, and confirmed the previous two rulings.  The Supreme Court ruled that the congregation in Tordinci is a legal entity according to the Croatian laws on religious communities, so the congregation in Tordinci is a legal owner of all its real estate.
 
By the current law, which plaintiff filed for revision with the Supreme Court, on religious communities and organizations says that they are non-profit and legal entities (article 6, sec. 3). According to the church’s acts and bylaws all of the organizations that exist in the church have their rights as the legal entities. The plaintiff was never the owner of the real estate, but the congregation in Tordinci was, so there where no grounds for erasing the congregation as the owner of the church building from the Public record of ownership of the Republic of Croatia.
 
The ruling of the Supreme Court raises some hopes that the matter of the ownership will be resolved in the same manner with the church building of the Reformed congregation “Dobroga pastira”/Good shepherd in Osijek that has been unavailable to the owners for six years now.