Syosset, New York, September 16, 2020
The Orthodox Church in America has officially put its property in Syosset, New York up for sale, following on the February session of the Metropolitan Council that determined that it is no longer financially feasible to upkeep the mansion and 15 acres that the Church has owned since the 1950s. The Holy Synod then confirmed the decision to make efforts to sell the property at its May-June session.
The property has long served as the chancery of the OCA, as well as the primatial residence and home of the Church’s extensive archives.
“On Monday, August 31, 2020, I signed a contract with a Long Island realtor to put up for sale the Westwood property, the longtime location of the chancery of the Orthodox Church in America in Oyster Bay Cove (Syosset), NY. I took this step in accordance with the motion to do so that was unanimously accepted by the Metropolitan Council at the beginning of its regular Fall 2020 Session, on Thursday, August 27, 2020,” stated Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Chancellor of the OCA, on Monday.
The OCA’s statement acknowledges that it was not an easy decision to sell the property that has historical significance and emotional ties for so many in the OCA, but, “Above all, the sale of the Westwood property is being undertaken so that His Beatitude can move to the territory of his own diocese, the Archdiocese of Washington, where he and his administration will work and become part of the Church life there.”
When His Beatitude Metropolitan Leonty first moved to the Syosset property in 1958, it was part of his canonical territory, the statement reminds. It was initially intended as the primatial residence, becoming the home of the chancery only in 1974. The Metropolitan See was later moved from New York to Washington, in accordance with the ancient tradition of a primate serving in a nation’s capital.
Following the sale of the property, the OCA will begin working on the relocation to Washington, which will include finding a residence for Met. Tikhon, establishing chancery administrative offices, and finding a proper facility for the archives.
While the present statement emphasizes the ecclesiological requirement of Met. Tikhon living in his own Washington Diocese, it also notes that the sale of the Syosset property is a financial necessity for the OCA.
Met. Tikhon also offers a reflection on stewardship and the chancery of the OCA that can be read on the site of the OCA.