By a unanimous decision of three judges handed down on 7 March 2017, the NSW Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal of the Property Trust of the 'Free SOCANZ Diocese' which challenged the 2015 judgement delivered by the Supreme Court of NSW in relation to the St Sava Monastery in Hall.
In a lengthy judgment, the Court of Appeal upheld the primary decision, rejecting all claims of the 'Free SOCANZ Diocese' and re-affirming that the Property Trust of the 'Free SOCANZ Diocese' had, by its conduct, ceased to be a suitable trustee having regard to the spirit of the trust. As a consequence, the Court reiterated the original orders to the effect that:
- the Property Trust of the 'Free SOCANZ Diocese' be removed as a trustee of the Monastery property and that the Property Trust of the SOC Metropolitanate be appointed in its place on the terms ordered by the trial judge; and
- the Monastery vest in the Property Trust of the SOC Metropolitanate.
We would like to remind the Serbian Orthodox Faithful that the above judgement of NSW Supreme Court is a culmination of a lengthy litigation initiated in 2011.
This is not a time for triumphalism. It is a time for healing and reflection as to who we are as a people, as children of Saint Sava...
"Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock," said the Holy Apostle Paul, "in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the Church of God, which He obtained with His own blood." (Acts20;28)
Let us be mindful of these words, each one of us asking the Lord for forgiveness of our sins and offenses, for "if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8) In love, let us mend that which is torn, let us re-assemble that which is broken apart, for the Lord calls us to do so. Let us step forward in love with faith and the fear of God.
From: The office of the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand.