World Trade Center
New York, New York
(November 2, 2021)
* * *
Your Eminences and Graces,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today, on the thirtieth anniversary of the enthronement of His All-Holiness as the longest-serving Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch in history, we receive the great grace and blessing of his paternal and Patriarchal love in this special opening of the doors of our National Shrine.
His All-Holiness, as the global Patron of Orthodoxy, brings to us the gift of Saint Nicholas himself, who is the Heavenly Patron of this Shrine. The venerable presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch bestows an added ecumenicity to the mission of the Shrine, as well as a dimension of interreligious and intercultural values that comprise the vision and love of His All-Holiness for all humankind.
In Constantinople, the Mother Church occupies a sacred τόπος, which is known as the Phanar – the “Lighthouse.” From that beacon of love, peace and reconciliation, His All-Holiness has come to Ground Zero today, in order to add his brilliance and the radiance of the Holy Great Church of Christ to the illumination of Saint Nicholas.
This day will long be remembered as the commencement of a mission that extends well beyond the confines of the parish of Saint Nicholas, the Archdiocese and, indeed, the American Nation. This is the beginning of a ministry and a mission to the entire oikoumene — signaling, of course, a new era for Orthodoxy in this hemisphere and around the world.
Naturally, though, a mission of this magnitude can only be launched and made possible by the Ecumenical Patriarch himself.
Therefore, with much eagerness of heart and soul, let us listen closely to his Apostolic message — the word of the 270th Successor to the See of the First-Called Apostle Andrew, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.