Copy
View this email in your browser
“Rebuild My Church”
stnicholaswtc.org APRIL 2021 Live Webcam

Beloved Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

We are fast approaching Great and Holy Week and the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our annual commemoration of this last week in His earthly life is filled with pain, with suffering, with remorse, and with unspeakable love and sacrifice. And when this Week of weeks is over, we pass over to the ineffable joy of Pascha.

But what is a week in the liturgical life of the Church has reached almost twenty years when it comes to the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine. The aftermath of September Eleventh was filled with loss, pain, grief, and too many tears for the surviving families, for their friends and neighbors, for our Nation, and for the world. The Church of Saint Nicholas suffered for many years, as we struggled to find the way forward in order to rebuild. Just as Holy Week was no easy road for the Lord, the last twenty years have not been an easy road for Saint Nicholas. Yet now, after so much sacrifice, we are nearing the resurrection of Saint Nicholas, as a Church, as a Parish, and as our national Shrine.

For us, as Orthodox Christians, there is only answer one answer to suffering and death. And that answer is resurrection. Just as the only answer to hate is love. This is why we have given so much effort to the rebuilding of Saint Nicholas over these last two decades. We are not simply rebuilding the parish that was on Cedar Street, the wonderful little Church that stood its ground decade after decade. When so many pushed the Church to sell its tiny parcel of land and move – even Church authorities. But the faithful stood their ground, never imagining that the Twin Towers, in whose shadow they worshipped, could ever be brought low. Perhaps they knew something then, deep in their souls, about the future of Saint Nicholas. Perhaps they recognized that Saint Nicholas would one day play a much larger role – not only at the World Trade Center, but in our national consciousness.

Indeed, the resurrected Saint Nicholas National Shrine will be a worldwide ministry of our Holy Archdiocese – to all people. We will reach out with the Good News of Christ Jesus and His Glorious Resurrection from this glowing beacon of hope in Liberty Park. We will bring the message of our Orthodox Christian Faith to the Nation and the world in ways we could never have foreseen. But God, in His eternal Providence and good Will has seen fit to bless the Greek Orthodox People of America with this extraordinary opportunity to preach the Gospel.

My brothers and sisters: as you prepare to enter this Holy Week and encounter the Lord Risen from the dead, I ask you to pray with me for the completion of the Saint Nicholas National Shrine, and for the mission that this extraordinary Church will engage. When we behold Saint Nicholas risen form the ashes of 9/11, we will all rejoice in that day which the Lord has made!

With paternal Blessings in Christ and Καλή Άνάσταση,


Archbishop Elpidophoros of America

Message from the Friends of St. Nicholas

Dear Friends of our National Shrine,

As you will surmise from our Archbishop’s message, this is our last Easter before celebrating in our National Shrine. It is an exciting moment as we race toward completion of the exterior, in time for the twentieth anniversary of September Eleventh. There is so much to finish, to plan, and to vision, as we enter the final phases of construction. After two decades, the dream is becoming a reality – one that you can see and touch.

In a way, the resurrection of Saint Nicholas is like the Resurrection of the Lord, who showed his wounds to his disciples after rising from the dead. It was a reality; no dream. And the same is true for Saint Nicholas. The Friends of Saint Nicholas dearly wish that, as the pandemic abates, many of you who are not New Yorkers will have the chance to visit and behold this miracle at Ground Zero. And for those who do live in New York, we invite you to pass by and witness for yourselves the tremendous progress from day to day.

At present, more of the exterior marble cassettes are being installed. These are the features that combine the Pentelic marble – the same marble used to build the Parthenon, with glass, and will give Saint Nicholas the signature glow at night that we have imagined since it was first designed. We are excited that this exterior of the Shrine is on target to be completed by September 11, 2021, and that our Saint Nicholas can play an important part in the observances on the solemn day.

In addition, the new iconographic program is taking shape, blessed by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros and guided by Bishop Joachim of Amissos. Let no one be mistaken, the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine will be a preeminent Greek Orthodox Church that will give to our greater American society the very image of what our Faith represents. The Shrine will be a fully operational Parish and a national and indeed international ministry that manifests what is best and brightest in our traditions. Whether it is the aesthetic glories of Byzantium, or the pride of our immigrant forebears, or the magnificence of Greek Orthodox theology and culture, Saint Nicholas Shrine will embody all these and more.

Every Greek Orthodox Christian of our Holy Archdiocese will be proud of this achievement, and there is still time to add your name to the thousands who have generously given of themselves to make the Shrine a reality.

Please think to make your gift today and join your fellow Greek Orthodox Christians in bringing about the one of the most significant religious institutions in the history of the United States, one that sits at the epicenter of the inaugural history of the 22st Century.

On behalf of the Friends of Saint Nicholas, we wish everyone a blessed Holy Week and a glorious Easter.

Faithfully,


Dennis Mehiel
Chairman

Michael Psaros
Vice-Chairman
Friends of St. Nicholas Board of Trustees

Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, Honorary Chairman

Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, Vicar General (Advisor)

Dennis Mehiel, Chairman

Michael Psaros, Vice Chairman

John Payiavlas, Treasurer

Chrysa Demos, Secretary

Maria Allwin

John Calamos

John Catsimatidis

John Georges

George Marcus

C. Dean Metropoulos

George Mihaltses

Dean Spanos

George Stamboulidis

JOHN V. KASSIMATIS

On the morning of September 11, 2001, John V. Kassimatis, Archon Depoutatos of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and a Lieutenant in the Port Authority Police was on duty at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. John is a well known figure in law enforcement in New York, and deeply committed to and involved with the Church. In the days, weeks and months after 9/11, he was instrumental in countless ways to facilitate the presence of the Archdiocese at Ground Zero, and in the recovery efforts of the few remaining objects of the Saint Nicholas Church on Cedar Street. Together with Fr. Alex Karloutsos (a Port Authority Chaplain), he facilitated the former Archbishop, His Eminence Demetrios, in returning to New York from Boston on 9/11, and enabling him to be present at Ground Zero in those first hours and days after the attack.

Inspector John Kassimatis escorts Archbishop Demetrios, former of America, and Father Alexander Karloutsos.

Inspector John Kassimatis speaks with George Papandreou, former Prime Minister of Greece.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, John V. Kassimatis, Archon Depoutatos of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and a Lieutenant in the Port Authority Police was on duty at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. John is a well known figure in law enforcement in New York, and deeply committed to and involved with the Church. In the days, weeks and months after 9/11, he was instrumental in countless ways to facilitate the presence of the Archdiocese at Ground Zero, and in the recovery efforts of the few remaining objects of the Saint Nicholas Church on Cedar Street. Together with Fr. Alex Karloutsos (a Port Authority Chaplain), he facilitated the former Archbishop, His Eminence Demetrios, in returning to New York from Boston on 9/11, and enabling him to be present at Ground Zero in those first hours and days after the attack.

John is indeed, a true Hero of 9/11 and of Saint Nicholas.

Below, with John’s permission, we share his official report of that fateful day, which he submitted to the Chief of the Department, six months later, telling his story of September 11, 2001 (he had been promoted to Captain by then). This is the first time this has been shared publicly, and we thank him for allowing us to do so here.

Please be advised: This report contains graphic details that some readers may find upsetting.
READ JOHN'S REPORT

Financials

Figures as of April 16, 2021

By Bishop Joachim of Amissos

Bishop Joachim of Amissos is an internationally recognized expert in Byzantine Iconography and is the Director of the Archbishop Iakovos Library at Hellenic College/Holy Cross

After the period of Iconoclasm (ending in 843), Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture emerged most characteristically as a centralized plan surmounted by a prominent dome at its core. It continues as the most common scheme for an Orthodox church today. This form of architectural plan readily serves to reflect the hierarchical system of the Orthodox Faith and its visual expression, whereby the dome, the highest point within the church structure, became associated with heaven and thereby was reserved for the depiction of the holiest figure, Christ Himself. This has become the definitive image of the interior space of Orthodox churches.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Help rebuild St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at the World Trade Center by making your tax-deductible contribution:

Checks payable to:
Friends of Saint Nicholas
8 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10075
212-774-0472

                  #rebuildmychurch
Copyright © 2021 Friends of St. Nicholas. All rights reserved.
Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.