ST. TIKHON'S MORTGAGED
• $152,000 Mortgage Taken Out on Monastery
With Honesdale Bank in June 2008
• Metropolitan Council, Administration
• Documents Verifying Transaction Sent
to Dr. Skordinski in Wake of SIC Report
Six weeks after the Metropolitan Council unanimously requested the 2007 financial statements and audited reports from St. Tikhon's Monastery, in early April 2008, former Metropolitan Herman quickly arranged a $152,000 loan from the Honesdale Bank according to documents sent to the Metropolitan Council by an unidentified OCA member. The mortgage was taken out without the knowledge or authorization of the Metropolitan Council. Members of the OCA Administration have also privately denied knowledge of the mortgage, but no public comment has been made.
Skordinski Reveals Documents
Metropolitan Council and Special Investigative Committee member, Dr. Faith Skordinksi, revealed the mortgage as well as other documents relating to the Seminary and Bookstore to fellow Council members late on September 11th. Skordinski wrote:
"This morning an OCA member e-mailed me the....attached records out of concern for the OCA. The action was prompted by reading the SIC's preliminary report." A clearly angry Skordinski added: "As a personal comment, it appears that financial improprieties similar to those practiced at the Chancery in Syosset over the years could be alive and well at Saint Tikhon's. The MC and the OCA must take every good precaution when such information is presented. We spent too many years being told to look the other way."
And she concluded: "I recommend that IMMEDIATE action be taken by the MC Ethics and Legal Committees to determine the full facts surrounding this (action) and report the same to the MC and the Synod with any recommended course of action."
One of the three documents Skordinski included in her email to the Metropolitan Council was a pdf copy of a mortgage recorded with Wayne County (#200800006664) by The Honesdale Bank for $152,000 signed by Metropolitan Herman, dated June 25, 2008. Pledged as collateral for the 5-year loan are St. Tikhon's monastery and lands, excepting the Seminary buildings and facilities. The Honesdale Bank has already extended a $1.7 million loan for the OCA, with the estate at Syosset pledged as collateral.
The Synod Moves
Earlier that same day, September 11th, the OCA itself announced that the "...Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America resolved to authorize His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania to supervise all daily operations of the Stavropegial Institutions of St. Tikhon's Seminary, and St. Tikhon's Monastery, including its Bookstore, and to supervise the external audit for 2008 of St. Tikhon's Monastery and Bookstore."
It seems the Synod, despite its action, may already be months too late.
- Mark Stokoe