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“Rebuild My Church” SEPTEMBER 2022 Live Webcam
Ensouled by Beauty

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

You will see in the photos of this Newsletter many images of Father Loukas of the Monastery of Xenophontos installing — and even directly painting — the iconographic program within the National Shrine. This program, designed by Bishop Joachim of Amissos and executed by Father Loukas, is much more than an ornamentation of the Church. It is the very ensoulment of our National Shrine by beauty.

In the long and exquisite tradition of Byzantine Iconography – which Father Loukas represents in a truly extraordinary way, there is an expression that describes the icon as “ἡ ἔμψυχος αὕτη γραφή,” an animated, or ensouled painting (the Greek phrase is of the 11th Century philosopher Michael Psellos). And please note here that icons are “painted,” not “written,” as some have misunderstood and mistranslated (think “graphic artist”).

What this manifests is that the relationship of iconography to the temple it adorns is the same as the soul to a body. In the Genesis story it says: “And God created the human being from the dust of the earth, and He breathed the breath of life into them, and the human being became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7 LXX). The “breath of life” being infused into our Saint Nicholas National Shrine is manifest in the ensouled icons, which bear in themselves the connection with their subjects, by virtue of the power of God, and the union of matter and spirit in the Divine Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. It might be said that every icon is an icon of Christ, because every icon is made possible through His Incarnation in the womb of the Virgin Mary.

In the Consecration of the Shrine. which was celebrated on the Fourth of July, we anointed the Church with the Chrism of the Holy Spirit, for just as a person is comprised of body, soul, and spirit (many Fathers see the spirit as the higher aspect of the soul), the church structure is tripartite. First, it is a building of matter, like our own flesh and bones, and thus is like a body. The structure also has a spirit, instantiated in the worship of the Church, most meaningfully symbolized by the Consecration Liturgy. And the structure has a soul, its icons that manifest the realities of our redemption in Christ and reflect the beauty that saves the world (Dostoevsky, The Idiot).

My beloved friends and supporters of our Saint Nicholas National Shrine:

The Spirit of God, Which blows wherever It wills (see John 3:8), is swirling and flowing within Saint Nicholas with every brushstroke of the hand of our master iconographer, Father Loukas. Every Icon is ἔμψυχος – ensouled and animate, full of the presence of God through His Divine Energy. And thus, every icon is a window by which we glimpse the eternal and infinite beauty of God. May we all be privileged to behold such glory in the Saint Nicholas National Shrine in person, and take this inspiration to our local church, where the same inbreathing of life waits for us to apprehend its glory and its beauty.

In our Lord Jesus Christ,

Archbishop of America


Prime Minister and Mrs. Mitsotakis reviewing the iconography at Saint Nicholas National Shrine with Archbishop Elpidophoros and Fr. Loukas (Photo by D. Panagos)

The Saint Nicholas National Shrine on 9/11


Dear Supporters of the St. Nicholas National Shrine,

We are excited to report the National Shrine is close to completion.

The National Shrine was lit the evening of September 10th and will glow from within every night henceforth, as a perpetual memorial to those who perished and as a beacon of hope to the world of presence of Saint Nicholas National Shrine at the rebuilt World Trade Center. The glow of Saint Nicholas will be a constant vigil light burning with gentleness and hope for all who pass by.

The magnificent iconographic program that is currently being installed by Father Loukas of Mount Athos will be an incomparable inspiration to Christian and non-Christian alike. The installation of the iconography requires the extensive use scaffolding. When the scaffolding is removed in November, we will open our doors to the world.

As the only House of Worship destroyed on 9/11, we have a special responsibility to be the presence of Faith at Ground Zero– not only at the annual observances of September Eleventh, but every day and every night including regular church services that will soon commence as part of the national ministry of the Shrine.

For the surviving families and for many of our fellow citizens, the impact of 9/11 has not always softened over time. Rather, it remains a dull pain and unrelenting sorrow that people have learned to live with. Our National Shrine will be a balm for all who visit or simply see it in all its majestic glory. The Friends of St. Nicholas will continue to support its ministry of healing and reconciliation for the decades to come, and we hope that more and more of you will join us with your prayers and your support for its mission.

With Gratitude,

Michael Psaros

Dennis Mehiel
Vice Chairman

Father Alex Karloutsos
Friends of St. Nicholas Board of Trustees

Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, Honorary Chairman

Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, Advisor

Michael Psaros, Chairman

Dennis Mehiel, Vice Chairman

John Payiavlas, Treasurer

Chrysa Demos, Secretary

Maria Allwin

John Calamos

John Catsimatidis

John Georges

George Marcus

C. Dean Metropoulos

Dean Spanos

George Stamboulidis

Church at Night
Watch Video

View Friends of Saint Nicholas Chairman Michael Psaros’s interview on the Fox News Channel’s special September 11 coverage


Watch Video

Watch a video of the iconography installation


Message from Father Andreas Vithoulkas


Dear Friends of Saint Nicholas,

We have important news about the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine. With thanks to George Mihaltses for his service to the Parish, on Monday, September 12, His Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America welcomed Demetri Papacostas and Dimitrios Katsiklis to the Archdiocese of America, where they received their respective appointments as Parish Council President and Head Cantor of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine. Below is some biographical information about each person, to give you a chance to get to know them.


(Pictured from left to right) Mr. Demetri Papacostas, Fr. Nektarios Papazafiropoulos, Archbishop Elpidophoros, Fr. Andreas Vithoulkas, Mr. Dimitrios Katsiklis

Demetri Papacostas Demetri is very involved in our Orthodox and Hellenic community. He is on the Board of Trustees for International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), Hellenic College Holy Cross (HCHC), and the Hellenic American Association for Professionals in Finance (HABA). He works for a fintech firm in NY, where he has been for 13 years and runs a Market Specialist group focusing on commodities and corporate risk. Previously he worked for major financial institutions: at JPMorgan Chase heading the FX Derivative Structuring Group and the FX Sales group. Demetri also teaches a Futures & Options Course at City University’s Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership to graduate and undergraduate students. He has published the definitive book on FX, FX Options, and the fascinating way individuals engage with the market: Foreign Exchange Options and Risk Management: Market Dynamics, Models and Human Behaviour, with his co-author Francesco Tonin. He and his wife Susan have raised three children and live in Westchester NY.
September Heroes

John and Mary Pappajohn

John Pappajohn is a visionary, and that vision is seen not only in an extraordinary life of entrepreneurial genius, but in a philanthropic legacy of beauty and wisdom.

He became one of the nations first, and is now recognized as one of the world’s premier venture capitalists. In 1969 he founded Equity Dynamics and Pappajohn Capital Resources in Des Moines, Iowa. He has served as a director for more than 40 publicly traded companies, launched more than 100 startups, and taken more than fifty companies public. He has received many honors for his accomplishments including the prestigious Horatio Alger Award, four honorary doctorates, and other awards too numerous to mention.

But while John is a known entrepreneurial genius, he is equally known for his generosity. John and his late wife, Mary, have contributed over 100 million dollars to charities and education. They have founded the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial centers at five Iowa colleges and universities. Their success has resulted in more than 175,000 graduates of the program and more than 1000 small businesses launched.

And their philanthropy toward education is equaled by their love of beauty. John is among the top 200 art collectors in the world. John has sat on numerous boards for the arts, including Vice Chairman, Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, DC, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Trustees Council the National Gallery of Art and the Whitney Museum. Mary was a trustee at the Des Moines Art Center and the Walker museum of Art in Minneapolis.



Figures as of September 18, 2022

September 2022
Jan Financials

The Communion of the Apostles

Communion of Apostles

By His Grace Bishop Joachim of Amissos, PhD

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

Among the three sacred images found on the eastern wall of the sanctuary of the Shrine of Saint Nicholas at Ground Zero is that of the Communion of the Apostles, identified here by its accompanying Greek inscription, ἡ Μετάληψις (the Partaking of the Elements of the Eucharist). Although images of the Communion of the Apostles can be found as early as the 6th century in manuscripts and on liturgical patens, scholars have shown that the scene does not appear in the central apse of Orthodox church sanctuaries until the 11th century, reflecting a period that witnessed a greater interest in depicting liturgical ceremonies. From this point onward, this image become a standard feature in sanctuary iconographic programs. The scene of the Communion of the Apostles has its roots in the Gospel accounts of the Last Supper (Matthew 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22: 7-23; and John 13: 1-30). It emphasizes the divine institution of the sacrament of the Eucharist by Christ but presented within a liturgical context.

In the icon of the Communion of the Apostles, Christ stands behind an altar, as a celebrating hierarch, blessing the sacred Eucharistic Elements as the Apostles approach to receive Holy Communion. The altar table is supported by 5 marble columns (4 at each corner and one in the center) as an actual Byzantine altar. Above the altar and the figure of Christ is a marble ciborium (canopy), a common liturgical furnishing of Byzantine sanctuaries. In his Commentary on the Divine Liturgy (Historia Ecclesiastica), Saint Germanos, the 8th-century patriarch of Constantinople, wrote that the ciborium symbolizes the holy place where Christ was crucified, buried, and resurrected and at the same time it refers to the Ark of the Covenant and Holy of Holies of the Old Testament Temple (Exodus 25). The paten and chalice on the altar table recall Byzantine examples.


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

Copyright © 2022 Friends of St. Nicholas. All rights reserved.
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