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Speeches and Addresses

Toast of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Reception for the Special Opening of the Doors of the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine

World Trade Center
New York, New York
(November 2, 2021)

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Your Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros,
Most Reverend Metropolitans and Bishops,
Esteemed Members of the Friends of Saint Nicholas,

Dear Friends,

The achievement of today is most assuredly a major milestone in the journey of the Saint Nicholas Church and National Shrine.

We one again congratulate and applaud the Friends of Saint Nicholas, and especially their Chairman Dennis Mehiel and Vice Chair Michael Psaros. In fact, allow me to read the names of all these women and men who have stood up for Saint Nicholas and made the sacrifices necessary for this edifice:

Treasurer, our dear friend John Payiavlas;

Secretary, Chrysa Demos,

Our beloved spiritual daughter, Maria Allwin;

Our dear friend, John Calamos;

Our beloved friend John Catsimatidis;

Our host from 2009 in New Orleans, John Georges;

Our beloved friend George Marcus;

Our dear friend Dean Metropoulos;

The President of the Parish, George Mihaltses;

Our friend, Dean Spanos, who embodies his dear parents, the late and ever-memorable Alex and Faye Spanos, at whose home I was so warmly welcomed in 1997;

Our dear George Stamboulides, who has represented the interests of the Shrine with such efficiency and dignity;

The builder of builders, Richard Browne;

Our spiritual son and brother Father Alex Karloutsos;

Our new Protopresbyter of the Throne, Father Andreas Vithoulkas;

And of course, all of these have worked with our Exarch, Archbishop Elpidophoros, who presides as Honorary Chairman of the Friends of Saint Nicholas.

Let us also offer our thanks to the former Archbishop Demetrios, and to Santiago Calatrava, whose vision for the Shrine was inspired by Agia Sophia.

We offer our congratulations once again to all of you, and lift our glass to your health and to the speedy conclusion of your sacred work of resurrecting the Saint Nicholas Church and National Shrine. Amen.