His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros
Remarks on Saint Nicholas Shrine
Remarks with Governor Cuomo
January 2, 2020
New York, New York
Today, I am honored to receive the Governor of the Great State of New York, the Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, here at the Headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. We met to discuss the urgent need to complete the Saint Nicholas National Shrine at the World Trade Center and our meeting has already borne much fruit.
The long struggle to rebuild our Church is finally coming to the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel,” and – on behalf of all the Greek Orthodox Christians of America – I wish to thank Governor Cuomo for his unfailing and unflagging support of our efforts.
I repeat yet again what I said at my enthronement as Archbishop of America: “It is our duty and our responsibility as Orthodox Christians – but also our obligation and commitment to God and His people – to complete and open the doors of the Saint Nicholas National Shrine.”
Thanks to the “Friends of Saint Nicholas” – the non-profit organization inspired by Governor Cuomo – we have for the first time total transparency, and responsive and responsible accountability. In fact, the Friends met earlier this month in order to strategize the next critical steps, and I want to thank the Friends Chairman Dennis Mehiel, Vice Chair Michael Psaros, our Archdiocese Vice Chairman and Friends Board Member John Catsimatidis, and their Spiritual Advisor Father Alexander Karloutsos, for being here today to demonstrate the resolve and commitment of our Greek Orthodox Family to completing Saint Nicholas National Shrine as soon as is humanly possible.
We are moving forward with our eyes wide open and we will more than satisfy our own faithful, the good people of the City and the Great State, of New York, the American Nation, and the world. Construction will recommence within the first sixty days of this New Year of 2020.
We all thank our beloved Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Port Authority and its Executive Director Rick Cotton who is here with us today, and all the partners in civil government who are making the rebuilding of Saint Nicholas possible. But it is our responsibility to finish it and we will not fail.
On behalf of the Greek Orthodox Faithful, we have made a commitment to open the doors of this National Shrine by September Eleventh, 2021, the twentieth anniversary of that fateful day. I pledge to you, Governor Cuomo, and to all the people of New York, that we will be ready; we will be on time; and we will be open to all women and men of good will who wish to honor the memory of all who perished on September Eleventh.