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“Rebuild My Church” FEBRUARY 2022 Live Webcam
Beacon of Orthodoxy

My Beloved Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

At the beginning of this month of February, we remembered in the Church the person and ministry of Saint Photios the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople (d. February 6, 891 AD). This brilliant Ecumenical Patriarch is famous for a multitude of reasons, but the one I want to highlight, vis-à-vis our National Shrine, is his commitment to spreading the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. His missionary zeal was truly apostolic, not a proselytizing chauvinism. And it is this spirit that our Saint Nicholas National Shrine will invoke for all who cross its holy threshold.

Our faithful presence, and presence filled with faith at Ground Zero, is an extraordinary opportunity to share the Orthodox Faith of Christ with our neighbors, whomever they may be. Let us remember that the Lord said that after loving God, the greatest commandment was: ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν – you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31).

A neighbor is not someone you choose to associate with, or the friendly family over the fence in your neighborhood, A neighbor is anyone who comes into your presence, and therefore, anyone who walks into our National Shrine, or who finds us on the Internet or Social Media. They are our neighbor. And our call is to love them, and to bring the Good News of God’s love to them.

This is the genuine and apostolic mission of Saint Nicholas. This mission can be the inspiration for every parish across the Archdiocese, as we celebrate the One Hundredth Anniversary of our founding as the premier Eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Saint Photios the Great changed the course of human history, by the missionary exploits he sent forth from Constantinople into the Slavic Lands. He manifested the nourishing and caring love of the Mother Church for all people. We can do no less.

And through his holy prayers, I believe that Saint Nicholas will be that beacon of pure and unalloyed Orthodox Christian Faith, that will draw many souls to Christ, and to his safe harbor from the stormy seas of life.

With Love and Blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Archbishop of America

The Evolution of The Friends of St. Nicholas


Dear Supporters and Friends of the St. Nicholas National Shrine,

Last month, we noted with much pride how the Saint Nicholas Church and National Shrine is evolving as a ministry to our Church and to the world. We wanted to share with all of you – the loyal and generous supporters of the Shrine, what this means for our own evolution, as The Friends of St. Nicholas (FoSN).

Since the coming of Archbishop Elpidophoros to lead our Church in America, we have been on a steady and upward climb. This is because despite the pandemic, global supply issues, and the enormous intricacy of building a precise and highly detailed “jewel box” in what is surely the most complex building site in the world, God has truly blessed our labors and the dream is becoming a reality.

The Friends of St. Nicholas are now looking to the future of the Shrine, and how we can evolve into a service organization that will support both the ministries of the Parish and the programs of the Shrine. We are now in a vibrant and detailed conversation with the new Parish Council of Saint Nicholas and the Archdiocese, in order to create a synergistic relationship that will allow each element of the Shrine to function seamlessly.

This was always our dream, even as we concentrated our every effort on raising the funds to complete the Shrine. But we are now turning that corner, as the exterior will come into full completion around the end of April, and the magnificent iconographic program finishes on Mount Athos, readying itself for a full installation later this year.

We know that it is the donors who have made this possible. And we hope that even more donors will come forward to secure the future of the Shrine for the next hundred years. We thank you for your faithfulness to this holy work, and we look forward to you visiting this Greek Orthodox Shrine for the Nation, on the hallowed ground of 9/11.


Dennis Mehiel

Michael Psaros

Father Alex Karloutsos
Friends of St. Nicholas Board of Trustees

Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, Honorary Chairman

Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, 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

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Message from Father Andreas Vithoulkas


These remarks are drawn from the presentation Fr. Andreas made at the Leadership 100 Annual Conference in Naples, Florida on February 11th.

First of all, I want to express my gratitude to His Eminence for his blessing, and the Leadership One Hundred Family for their gracious invitation, to make this presentation today. The trust that our Archbishop has shown me to be the first Proïstamenos of the Saint Nicholas National Shrine is truly humbling and sobering.

Being with all of you today is heartening for me, because I know the tremendous support that Leadership One Hundred has given to the Shrine. The Friends of Saint Nicholas has been the singular driving force behind completing the Shrine, and fulfilling the vision of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros. The fact that Leadership One Hundred has shared this commitment and vision is encouraging to all of us who see in the National Shrine, a nationwide ministry that is capable of bringing our Church together as never before.

Atop Liberty Park, and overlooking the Memorial Pools that are the exact footprints of the Twin Towers, our Shrine may seem small in respect to its surroundings, but we occupy perhaps the most important parcel of the sixteen acre site.

For in a sea of glass and steel, we are and island of sanctuary, a rock of faith, made from the same stone as the Parthenon of Athens. Literally so! The same Pentelic Marble that was hewn and carried all those miles from Mount Pendelikon, and then hoisted high atop the Acropolis – twenty-five hundred years ago! – this is the same marble that has been granted to us by the Government of Greece to remake our Saint Nicholas Church.

Heroes Foye

Pat Foye

“I have always believed that the Rebuilding of the World Trade Center would not be complete until Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church & National Shrine was open to members of the Church and members of the public seeking solace not only in the Church but in the non-denominational bereavement center as well. The original Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox was the only house of worship destroyed in the attacks on 9/11 and the new Church will also be the only house of worship at the World Trade Center I am humbled to have played a role in the rebuilding of the Church and Shrine in my service as Executive Director of the Port Authority of NY and NJ.”

–Pat Foye, Executive Director of PANYNJ, October 2011 – August 2017

In 2011, in the immediate aftermath of the agreement signed on October 14, 2011 between the Archdiocese with Governor Cuomo of New York and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to confirm the rebuilding of Saint Nicholas at Ground Zero, a new Executive Director of the Port Authority was named: Patrick (Pat) Joseph Foye.

Pat, an attorney and graduate of Fordham University Law, had been involved in New York public life for decades. He was the chairman of New York’s Empire State Development Corporation, as well as a board member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

His appointment to be Executive Director of PANYNJ by Governor Cuomo came at a critical juncture in the development of the Saint Nicholas National Shrine, leading to the Ground Blessing and commencement of construction at 130 Liberty Street, the site agreed to by all parties. In fact, this site had been determined years before, but there were challenges along the way.



Figures as of February 9, 2022

Feb Financials
Jan Financials

The Images of the Four Evangelists in the Shrine of Saint Nicholas

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

As noted in several previous issues of this Newsletter, after the period of Iconoclasm (ending in 843), Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture emerged most characteristically as a centralized plan surmounted by a prominent dome. 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.

Immediately beneath the image of Christ the Pantokrator (the Ruler of All), one usually finds images of the Lord’s ministering servants who participated in the revelation of God’s plan of salvation: the Prophets, with their preparatory messages and prefigurations of the Incarnation (figures placed either between the radiating ribs of the dome-as in the Shrine of Saint Nicholas-or on the upright walls of the drum of the dome), and beneath them, descending towards the faithful, the images of the four Evangelists, the authors of the four Gospels of the New Testament, who provided the written testimony of the fulfillment of the promise of the Lord’s coming among His people, as told by their Old Testament predecessors.

Evangelists 1
Evangelists 2

In a centrally planned, domed church, the four Evangelists are customarily placed within the architectural features known as the pendentives. The pendentives are the four, spherical, triangular spaces beneath the circular dome that descend over the rectangular space of the nave below. They are the architectural elements that create the transition from the circular area above and the square or rectangular plan of the nave below. They are the structural means of joining a circle to a square.


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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