On Thursday, in In Re: Multi-Circuit Episcopal Church Property Litigation, (VA Cir. Ct., April 3, 2008), a Fairfax County (VA) trial judge issued an 88- page "Letter Opinion on the Applicability of Va. Code § 57-9(A) " to eleven Virginia churches that broke away from the Episcopal Church USA. The court held that the churches are covered by an 1867 Virginia law that provides: "If a division has ... occurred ... in a church or religious society, to which any such congregation whose property is held by trustees is attached, the members of such congregation over 18 years of age may, by a vote of a majority ..., determine to which branch of the church ... such congregation shall thereafter belong." The court scheduled a hearing for May 28 on whether the section, interpreted in this way, violates the Free Exercise or Establishment clauses of the U.S. Constitution or the religious freedom provisions of the Virginia constitution. Yesterday Episcopal Life reported on the decision and reprinted statements issued afterwards by the Office of the Presiding Bishop and the Diocese of Virginia. Time reports on this and other cases in an article titled The Episcopal Property War.