NEW YORK – People get excited about the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Shrine at the World Trade Center when they see the construction progress through the live feed at www.stnicholaswtc.org/en/webcam, and those who are deeply involved in the project are equally thrilled by the support shown by people from all walks of life.
The Shrine is expected to be completed in the spring of 2018 and is planned to open with the iconography complete.
Many communities around the country have offered overwhelming support for the rebuilding of St. Nicholas.
One example is the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Houston which has come in with the biggest
parish pledge thus far. The Cathedral dean, Fr. Michael Lambrakis and lay leaders led a drive that recently donated $150,000. The hope is that every community in the United States will participate significantly in the rebuilding of St. Nicholas. Many have already worked very hard for the effort however, Archbishop Demetrios has stated that this must be a national and international effort as it will be the most visited Orthodox Church in the United States, if not the World.
Recent major donor contributions include Philanthropists George and Cathy Sakellaris who just pledged $1 million to the project. The Niarchos Foundation has recently conveyed the $5 million they had pledged and other major donors and foundations are fulfilling their pledges as well.
The National Philoptochos has already contributed $1.3 million. The Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund has given $1 million, the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate have already exceeded their $1 million commitment, and The Order of AHEPA is well on its way towards fulfilling its pledge of $1 million.
Donations are funding the Church’s numerous dimensions, including the construction and decoration of the Church, and the endowment fund to sustain St. Nicholas as living parish and not just a destination for visitors. The fundraising target exceeds $50 million.
To date there has been $43,640,826 in pledges, of which $31,490,175 has already been received. Those who wish to donate directly can visit: www.stnicholaswtc.org/donate.
New York Life recently gave $100,000 to fund the planning process for programs that will be implemented for the international bereavement center, which is an integral part of the project.
The center’s planning will be overseen by a committee consisting of scholars, psychologists and clergy and laity. The first meeting in February will focus on the goals and later they will shape the programs and address questions related to operations and staffing.
Construction has not slowed down in the winter, it just shifted gears and moved inside. Recent photos show the progress of the dome and completion of the erection of steel.
The openings in the structure have been shielded from the cold so the interior work can progress. There will be a weatherproof wrap on the dome. In the spring, they will resume work on the exterior.