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Saint Photios National Shrine Annual Pilgrimage

St. Augustine, FL - February 6 is the Feast day of Saint Photios the Great, patron saint of the National Shrine of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, located in St. Augustine, Florida. The St. Photios Shrine Foundation Board of Trustees will also celebrate the feast of the Shrine with its annual Trustees Meeting at the Annual Saint Photios National Shrine Pilgrimage.

The Executive Director, V. Rev. Nicholas Graff, announced that the patron of the National Shrine, Saint Photios the Great, would be commemorated at the 22nd Annual Saint Photios National Shrine Pilgrimage, February 6 through 8, 2004 in St. Augustine, FL. The Pilgrimage will begin with Divine Liturgy on February 6 for the feast of its patron in the Saint Photios Chapel at the National Shrine.

The St. Photios Foundation Board of Trustees will meet for their Annual Meeting during the Pilgrimage on Saturday, February 7, 2004. Matins will take place in the morning and the evening will include Great Vespers with an Artoclasia service in the magnificent Saint Photios Chapel.

The Saint Photios National Shrine Day is Sunday, February 8, 2004. Orthros Service followed by Archierarchical Liturgy with a Memorial Service for Shrine Founders, Benefactors and Trustees will be celebrated at the Saint Photios Chapel. The National Shrine Day Pilgrimage Luncheon is February 8 at the Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine, FL.

The Board of Trustees continue to enhance the efforts of the National Shrine to promote the Orthodox Faith and Hellenic heritage. Fr. Graff also announced, in commemoration of the return of the Olympic Games to Athens, Greece in 2004, Olympic Gold-medal winner, Bruce Jenner will be this year?s Keynote Speaker, speaking on "The Olympic Spirit."

The Saint Photios National Shrine Annual Pilgrimage is the celebration of the feast of Saint Photios the Great Patriarch of Constantinople. Saint Photios the Great was Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople during the middle of the ninth century. The Orthodox Church honors Saint Photios as a theologian, a supporter of missionary activity, and a defender of the Faith. Not long after his death in 897, Photios was proclaimed a Saint by the Orthodox Church and February 6 was designated as the Feast day to honor this defender of the Christian Faith and pillar of the Church.

Like its patron saint, Saint Photios, the Shrine is called to be a steadfast beacon to the faithful, maintaining and perpetuating our Orthodox Faith and Hellenic Heritage; to project Orthodox Christianity through its programs and activities to all who pass through its historic doors; and to initiate the mission endeavor of love, of freedom, a better life, and to communicate the Gospel of Christ. The National Shrine is a living memorial to those first Greek settlers, and to all the Greek Orthodox pioneers whose love of freedom and desire for a better life for themselves and their children brought them to this New World.

The Shrine consists of exhibits depicting the story of the first Greek colony that came to America in 1768. This unique exhibit contains various artifacts, photographs and historical documents. Also, a special audio/visual tape, "Our Plymouth Rock," tells the story of Greek immigrants finding themselves in a hostile and unknown land, and of their struggle to become part of the fabric of America.

Greek Orthodox faithful are encouraged to make a pilgrimage to the National Shrine, to experience the religious, cultural, and historical significance of St. Augustine. In the Chapel, candles can be lit for loved ones and ancestors who first came to this land, or the name of loved ones can be inscribed on The Wall of Tribute, located outside the Saint Photios Chapel. All are welcomed to attend the Annual Saint Photios National Shrine Pilgrimage.

Shrine Trustee and Archon Dr. Manuel Tissura of Tucker, GA, will chair the 22nd Annual St. Photios National Shrine Pilgrimage. Information on the Annual Pilgrimage and the Saint Photios National Shrine Pilgrimage Luncheon is available at the St. Photios National Shrine at P.O. Box 1960, St. Augustine, FL 32085, Tel (904) 829-8205, or E-mail [email protected] The National Shrine is located on 41 St. George Street in historic downtown St. Augustine, Florida, the nation?s oldest city.