New York (Fund for Assistance) - While all eyes are focused on Hurricane Sandy, another emerging catastrophe calls for our special consideration in helping our fathers and brethren at the Holy Trinity Monastery. This venerable ROCOR institution, founded in 1928, has touched the lives of countless monks, seminarians, pilgrims, and other Orthodox faithful.
I visited the monastery about a month ago in order to review the endowment and scholarship funds provided by the FFA earlier this year. I was shocked to learn that the monastery is now under severe financial difficulty on the back of two major developments:
1) Environmental: all the heating oil tanks used for heating have had to be urgently replaced. Initial works were completed, but do not yet meet required standard due to a lack of sufficient funds. Failure to complete these works in time could result in a fine levied by the New York Environment Commission of $37,000 per day!
2) Infrastructure: the plumbing (including septic tank) and electricity in the main building requires urgent replacement. When the founding monks built this complex in the 1950s, they did what they could with the materials they could afford. Unfortunately, the pipes are literally disintegrating (see photos). Given the cold winter approaching, this could spell disaster unless they are urgently replaced, at a cost the monastery cannot afford. The electricity is in a similar state of affairs – the reliable contractor of many years refuses to do any more service work without replacement of all wires, panels, and infrastructure. Lastly, the kitchen requires replacement in order to accommodate increasing requirements and rotting floor.
There is no retained income sufficient to fill the gap these urgent expenses require. I personally reviewed audited financial statements, and found in the fiscal year 2010-2011, expenses (including seminary) exceeded revenue (including donations) by several hundreds of thousands of dollars. The operating costs increased due to urgent repairs (see above) and costs associated with maintaining the large cemetery (crosses requiring replacement, not paid for by families). The preliminary figures for 2011-2012 a lower loss, but a loss, nevertheless. Fortunately, the monks are urgently finding ways to fill the gap with sales from a revised book store and publishing activity, and selling incense, and other liturgical items.
The importance of the monastic life in our Church was described by Metropolitan Hilarion, where he said:
“Monasteries are the foundation of our Church, because they are places where prayer never ceases. Even if we are not able to visit, we will still be comforted, because we know that the monastics are praying for all of us. Monasticism means living the Christian life to the fullest.”
Towards the end of last year our donor base generously contributed over $190,000 in aid of the Holy Cross Monastery. We ask that the same enthusiasm and support be given to the Holy Trinity Monastery as well!
The Fund for Assistance is so convinced of the need to ensure the survival of the Holy Trinity Monastery that we will match every dollar you contribute through the end of December, 2012+.
Please donate now by sending a check to the Fund for Assistance at: 75 East 93rd Street New York, NY 10128 USA; or, even more quickly, by clicking here.