His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros
Greeting to Board of Trustees
29th Annual Leadership 100 Conference
February 19, 2020 – 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida
This is my first Leadership 100 Annual Conference, and I have to say, that I am deeply impressed and moved by the devotion and faith that I have experienced among you.
As I said earlier to the Executive Committee, your vision and commitment are worthy in every way of the memory of Archbishop Iakovos, who, together with your Founders, created this Endowment that bears his revered name. I want to express again my thanks to the Chairman, Argyris Vassiliou, and to your Executive Director, Paulette Poulos, for their philoxenia and care of my person.
Earlier today, in the Executive Committee, an extraordinary vote was held to grant to the newest National Ministry of the Church, the Saint Nicholas National Shrine, an exceptional and unique grant of five million dollars. This follows on the historic grant made by the FAITH Endowment of twenty million dollars, and together they represent the guarantee that the Saint Nicholas Church and National Shrine at Ground Zero will open on the twentieth anniversary of that fateful day, September 11, 2021, when His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew returns to the United States to preside at the Θυρανοίξια.
I want to thank all the members of the Executive Committee, and in particular our pioneering philanthropists Peter Dion, John Payiavlas, Arthur Anton, and Steven Yeonas, as well as Maria Allwin, the Secretary of Leadership 100, and John Catsimatidis, the Vice Chairman of our Archdiocesan Council.
These fellow Leadership 100 members are also member of FAITH, and they are a visible and tangible manifestation that all of your collective labors are on behalf of our One and Undivided Archdiocese. We are indeed one community and one family in Christ.
You all know that there has been remarkable progress in every area necessary for the completion of our Saint Nicholas National Shrine.
Many of you here, and many more of your fellow Leadership 100 members have made personal sacrificial contributions to the rebirth Saint Nicholas, and the commitment of Leadership 100 in its corporate giving is well known.
But here is why today is different. Now, despite the veritable odyssey that this journey of rebuilding Saint Nicholas has been, we are now in sight of Ithaki.
This Shrine, when complete, will see millions of visitors per year.
This Shrine will become the most visible Orthodox Christian Church in the world.
This Shrine will be the pivotal entry-point into the National American consciousness, much as the March in Selma was for the ever-memorable Archbishop Iakovos and our Church over fifty years ago.
As I said a while ago and it bears repeating, this Shrine may be small in square feet, but it will be truly gigantic in its stature, with a mission that is millennial in its scope.
It stands at the epicenter of the history of the Twenty-first Century, in a place where so many of your forefathers and foremothers came ashore in America. How many candles of thanksgiving burned bright in the little Church where so many Πρωτοπόροι came ashore and made their first offering in the New World at Saint Nicholas? This is our National Shrine, our American Parthenon of Orthodoxy and Hellenism. It will be the greatest national ministry that our Archdiocese has ever undertaken.
Leadership 100 has already done so much for the Church, by serving the Archdiocese in its manifold needs, but I ask you for an even greater sacrifice. I ask that you confirm the decision of your Executive Committee and that together, we embrace a limitless future for our Church, and become the leaders we are meant to be in our blessed country what we call the United States of America.