Appeal, No. 1, Jan. T., 1951, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, Nov. T., 1947, in Equity, No. 3, in case of Most Reverend Constantine Bohachevsky, Bishop of the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Diocese of the United States v. W. H. Sembrot et al., Trustees. Decree affirmed.
Walter L. Hill, Jr., with him O'Malley, Harris, Harris & Warren, for appellants.
Robert E. O'Brien, with him Edward J. Kelly, W. J. Fitzgerald and Fitzgerald & Kelly, for appellee.
Before Stern, Jones, Bell, Ladner and Chidsey, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE JONES
This is an appeal by the defendants from a final decree in equity entered by the learned court below after full hearing on the complaint of the plaintiff, Most Reverend Constantine Bohachevsky, Bishop of the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Diocese of the United States, and the answer thereto by the defendants. The individual defendants are lay members and officers of SS. Cyril and Methodius Greek Catholic Church of
Olyphant Borough, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, and several banking depositories of the church which is, and ever since 1892 has been, a Pennsylvania corporation of the first class. The suit was originally instituted by Reverend John Ortynsky, pastor of the church, but, following his death, Bishop Bohachevsky was duly substituted of record as plaintiff.
The plaintiff bishop was assigned to his office, as Bishop of the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Diocese of the United States, in 1924 by His Holiness Pius X, Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He sought an injunction to restrain the defendants from interfering with priests (appointed and designated by him) in the performance of their duties as pastor and assistant pastor of the Olyphant parish, such duties including, inter alia, the administration of the "temporal" affairs of the church and the control and management of its property and the parish parochial school. Preliminary objections by the defendants were overruled as was also the defendants' motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction granted by the court.
The hearing, which consumed many days, produced a printed record of 1701 pages which includes the testimony taken in a prior related court proceeding: See Siniawa et al. v. Chylak et al., 4 Lackawanna Jurist 207 (1902). A large number of documentary exhibits were also received in evidence. The learned chancellor made findings of fact and conclusions of law and entered a decree nisi awarding the plaintiff the relief prayed for in the bill. Upon exceptions, the chancellor's findings and conclusions and decree nisi were unanimously confirmed by the court en banc which thereupon entered the final decree from which the defendants have appealed.
The question involved in this proceeding is exactly the same as in he case of Kraftician v. St. Peter and St. Paul's ...