Saint Nicholas Shrine to begin Construction

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today officially welcomed Archbishop Elpidophoros of America to New York and announced plans to resume the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center. This was the Governor’s first meeting with His Eminence since the Archbishop was elected by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as Archbishop of America to succeed Archbishop Demetrios in May. The project will be driven by a new non-profit organization with an independent, 13-member board – the Friends of St. Nicholas. The new entity has been formed to ensure that the sacred space is completed as expeditiously as possible and can begin welcoming visitors from around the world. The Friends of St. Nicholas will aim to resume construction with a two-year target to complete the church.

“The rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church that was destroyed on September 11 is a moment of coming together and healing not only for the Greek Orthodox community but for all New Yorkers who lived through that horrific day,” Governor Cuomo said. “This house of worship will serve as a reminder that our collective faith is something we can always count on to move past our painful memories and build a better tomorrow.”

Archbishop Elpidophoros said, “On behalf of the Greek Orthodox Faithful, we have made a commitment to open the doors of this National Shrine by September 11, 2021, the twentieth anniversary of that fateful day. I pledge to you, Governor Cuomo, and to all the people of New York, that we will be ready; we will be on time; and we will be open to all women and men of good will who wish to honor the memory of all who perished on September Eleventh.”

Today, the Governor and the Archbishop were joined by Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; John Catsimatidis, Vice Chairman of the Archdiocese Council; Dennis Mehiel and Michael Psaros, Chair and Vice-Chair respectively of the Friends of St. Nicholas; and the Rev. Father Alexander Karloutsos, Vicar General of the Archdiocese to discuss and announce the resumption of work at the St. Nicholas Church site on the south side of Liberty Street.

The Friends of St. Nicholas will be responsible for the timely rebuilding of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine. The new organization will: raise money for the re-building of St. Nicholas; fund the re-building of St. Nicholas; oversee construction of St. Nicholas; and conduct appropriate audits. The 13-member board will be chaired by Dennis Mehiel, former Chairman of the Battery Park City Authority (2012-2018), and the Chairman of US Corrugated, which he founded in 1966. Richard Browne, Managing Partner of Sterling Project Development Group, will serve as COO of construction.

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros (Lambriniadis) of America will serve as the Honorary Chairman on behalf of Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

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