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St. Photios Shrine Archbishop Iakovos Enhancement Project

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Mar 11, 2004

St. Augustine, FL - The St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine in St. Augustine, Florida has unveiled two major initiatives. According to Executive Director V. Rev. Fr. Nicholas Graff, these initiatives are the St. Photios Shrine Archbishop Iakovos Enhancement Project and the Endowment Fund.

V. Rev. Fr. Nicholas Graff recently presented these projects to the Shrine's Board of Trustees. "Named after our Founding Hierarch, His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos," he said, "the Endowment Fund will be set aside for the perpetual growth and needs of the St. Photios National Shrine." He also introduced the Enhancement Project and called on the Trustees to "complete it with absolute resolve."

"Upon completion of the renovation of our beloved National Shrine, we can then continue our efforts to meet the goal of the Endowment Fund," V. Rev. Graff explained. "Both these projects are a fitting tribute to our Founding Hierarch." The Executive Director then went on to announce a lead gift to the project.

Trustee Emeritus, Archon Charles Masterpolis, presented V. Rev. Graff with a check for $50,000 for the Enhancement Project. With this gift, Mr. Masterpolis said, he intended to honor the memory of his dear parents, as well as the inspiration of Archbishop Iakovos, whom he credited for "getting me involved in the work of the Church." He expressed his hope that this gift will inspire others to follow suit. "We need to spread the word regarding this national treasure," stated Mr. Masterpolis, challenging Trustees to also contribute from their hearts.

Mr. Nicholas J. Furris, chairman of The Archbishop Iakovos Enhancement Project, provided the Trustees with a detailed project proposal. He described the stages of renovation that will improve the decor of the Shrine, as well as the audio/visual presentations that will be shown within the exhibit rooms. Mr. Furris also noted that the renovation has very specific guidelines. "Currently, visitors have to 'work' to understand the history and significance of this institution. We must make it an interactive and meaningful experience." Some proposed improvements include new flooring, a full redesign of the lighting scheme throughout the Shrine, interactive DVD information plasma screens, and a complete redesign of The Wall of Tribute room featuring a "touchable" limestone wall etched with the names of contributors.

Mr. Furris announced that the Project has already completed Phase One with the installation of a new coquina tile flooring and technological upgrades to the Viewing Room. Phase II is now underway with improvement of the overall presentation of the Shrine and its exhibits. Included are the faux painting of interior walls, the design and manufacturing of new display cases, and re-editing and updating the video, "Our Plymouth Rock." The video plays continuously in the Viewing Room on new DVD formatted technology.

V. Rev. Graff believes there is urgency in this project, and has presented its proposal to Leadership 100. The Enhancement Project committee continues to promote both the project and the fundraising necessary to underwrite the renovations. The cost totals approximately $300,000.

The care and operation of the St. Photios National Shrine has been entrusted to the St. Photios Foundation. Inspired by Foundation Chairman, Archbishop Demetrios of America, who, on the occasion of his first visit to the Shrine, challenged the Trustees: "The St. Photios National Shrine must move from a passive witness to a more active witness of our Faith and Culture." Established under the leadership of Archbishop Iakovos and supported by the generosity of friends and benefactors, the St. Photios Foundation continues its responsibility to preserve the Shrine's beauty and to promote its standing as a sacred national institution.

Mr. Furris described the project as a "bold endeavor honoring both His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos."

"We have deemed the Enhancement Project a priority and one that must be realized in the very near future. Surely we all want His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos to witness the outpouring of our love, as we owe so much to this illustrious churchman."

The St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine is a living memorial to the first Greek settlers on the American continent and to all the Greek Orthodox pioneers whose love of freedom and desire for a better life brought them to this New World. The St. Photios National Shrine is located in historic downtown St. Augustine, Florida, at 41 St. George Street.

For additional information on the St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine and the St. Photios Shrine Archbishop Iakovos Enhancement Project, please call or write: St. Photios Shrine, P.O. Box 1960, St. Augustine, FL 32085, or telephone, (904) 829-8205.


Andrew J. Lekos
Tel (904) 829-8205
Fax (904) 829-8707

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