Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Property in Oradea Returns to Church after 22 Years

The Romanian Restitution Committee has returned a property in Oradea (Nagyvárad), Romania to the Roman Catholic Church after twenty-two years, as reported by on Monday, February 10, according to the Bihor County Municipality, writes MTI.

The decision to return the property, which has been claimed by the church since 2002, was made by the committee back in December. 

However, it was only communicated to the city council in early February. The property in downtown Oradea currently houses the concert hall and offices of the city’s philharmonic orchestra. The main building has undergone significant renovations in recent years and has seen major improvements.

Calin Gal, vice-president of the Bihor County Municipality, told the news site that the municipality’s lawyers were still examining the decision of the restitution committee. They would then decide whether to appeal the verdict in court.

The county administration had previously argued that only two of the four properties were still in existence at the time of nationalization. They therefore requested that these properties not be returned in kind. However, the Bucharest body found that the later-built parts did not make up at least half of the land when monetary compensation could be applied.

As a result, they decided in favor of the church, with the condition that the properties should retain their cultural function for ten years. 

Bishop László Böcskei told that the church does not intend to change the function of the buildings. He mentioned that in 2022, an agreement was made with the county municipality that in exchange for the renovation, the philharmonic could continue to use the property after its restitution.

In Oradea, the Roman Catholic Church has reclaimed a number of properties nationalized by the communist authorities from the Romanian state. One of these, the former Financial Palace, was reclaimed by the county municipality after its restitution. The imposing property is currently being renovated with European Union funding and converted into an administrative center.