On the morning of Thursday, September 28, 2023, the Seminary administration discovered an anonymous electronic communication which made the claim that there was a bomb placed in the Seminary. The communication made the claim that a bomb was left because of “Russian atrocities in Ukraine.” The administration made an immediate risk assessment and contacted NY State Police, who advised to evacuate the buildings. The administration then cleared the Seminary and monastery buildings. The NY State Police quickly brought in troopers, investigators, a K-9 unit, and an officer from the computer crimes unit. The Richfield Springs Fire chief and EMS came and remained on standby. Local roadways were closed, and pilgrims were turned away temporarily. Students, monks, pilgrims, staff, and workers stayed outside for the rest of the morning and early afternoon while the police made an investigation and a K-9 unit swept the buildings. As it happened, K-9 unit members were training nearby, so the police made use of many dogs at once, and so were able to make a complete and thorough sweep of the entire monastery campus very quickly.
When the investigation found no evidence of any explosive device, the Monastery and Seminary community was cleared to re-enter the buildings. The police investigation is ongoing. Classes have resumed and monastery life continues as usual. Local persons in the larger community are supportive.
On behalf of Bishop Luke, our Rector, and all the Monastery and Seminary community, we wish to thank the New York State Police for their speedy response and professional handling of this case, the Richfield Springs Fire Chief and local EMS responders, our First Hierarch, Metropolitan Nicholas, and all those who have offered and are offering their prayerful support.