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St. Nicholas National Shrine ‘begins to glow’ with Pentelic marble

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The reconstruction of the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center, is back on track and the exterior is scheduled to be ready by September 11.

 

The building’s most distinct feature is the marble curtain wall, which comes from the same vein of Pentelic Marble that built the Parthenon 2,500 years ago. It was a gift from the Greek Government.

“We begin in Attica, where the marble has been quarried from the very same vein as the Parthenon marble, which is white with a faint tint of yellow, making it shine with a golden hue under sunlight,” Archbishop Elpidophoros of America explained.

“An extraordinary gift of the Hellenic Republic, which reserves the Pentelic marble only for the reconstruction efforts on the Acropolis,” he added.


The marble then traveled to Austria, for its fabrication into the the panels that will adorn the exterior of the building and give it that unique glow. From Austria, the panels went to Minnesota, to be assembled into their unique configuration with glass. And from Minnesota, to New York City and the site of Saint Nicholas- a journey of over 6,700 miles.

“Unlike the Parthenon, Saint Nicholas will not be a mountain of marble, but rather a monument of memory. Its glow will be a candle lit to dispel the hatred and inhumanity that was behind 9/11, and to remind the world that the Light of Christ, the Light of the Resurrection shines on, overcoming all darkness,” his Eminence continued.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the worldwide leader of Orthodox Christianity, will also officiate the ceremony, which is scheduled to take place on November 2.

On 9/11 in 2001, two planes flew into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, tragically killing 2,977 innocent people, including 37 Greek Americans.

As the Twin Towers horrifically collapsed from the impact, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan was also buried. St. Nicholas was the only other building besides the Twin Towers completely destroyed during the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Saint Nicholas Church, which commenced services in 1922, was named after Agios Nikolaos, Patron Saint of Sailors, as it was the first stopping point for many Greek migrants after they left Ellis Island, the United States’ busiest migrant inspection station. For 85 years, the Saint Nicholas Church stood at 155 Cedar St, New York City, until the shocking terrorist attack occurred.

Last year, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America used sprigs of basil and holy water to bless the restart of construction works at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Construction was set to resume in the spring, then COVID hit, grounding all non-essential projects statewide to a halt for months.

The full announcement from His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America:

As you will see from the pictures in this issue, the walls of Saint Nicholas are beginning to glow! We have arrived at the beginning of the installation of the curtain wall and the first marble siding (lower right) that has come all the way from Greece and the same vein of Pentelic marble that was used to construct the Parthenon 2500 years ago. You will note the brightness of the building, which is the full complement of the lighting that will illuminate this marble from within and create the signature glow of our National Shrine.

When the Parthenon was constructed, one hundred thousand pounds of marble was quarried from Mount Pentelikon, and transported over thirteen miles to the Acropolis, an engineering feat the equal to the Pyramids. Thankfully, we are not bringing so much marble, but it is traveling much farther. Our λιθαγωγία – “stone conveyance” is quite a bit longer.

We begin in Attica, where the marble has been quarried from the very same vein as the Parthenon marble, which is white with a faint tint of yellow, making it shine with a golden hue under sunlight. This is an extraordinary gift of the Hellenic Republic, which reserves the Pentelic marble only for the reconstruction efforts on the Acropolis. As one writer observed, “… the Parthenon’s parts may be said to spring from the very geology of Attica.” And the same can be said for Saint Nicholas, which will be clad in the same stone as the Parthenon and be a true American Parthenon of Orthodoxy, a proud accomplishment for the Omogeneia.

Then this marble has traveled to Austria, for its fabrication into the the panels that will adorn the exterior of the building and give it that unique glow. From Austria, the panels went to Minnesota, to be assembled into their unique configuration with glass. And from Minnesota, to New York and the site of Saint Nicholas for the installation you see commenced in the photos below. A journey of over 6,700 miles!

Unlike the Parthenon, Saint Nicholas will not be a mountain of marble, but rather a monument of memory. Its glow will be a candle lit to dispel the hatred and inhumanity that was behind 9/11, and to remind the world that the Light of Christ, the Light of the Resurrection shines on, overcoming all darkness.

And in the light of Christ we will see the radiance of the faithfulness, dedication, and generosity of all those whose sacrifices have made the Saint Nicholas Church and National Shrine a reality. Please consider a gift, or another gift to the Saint Nicholas National Shrine. Everyone can have their name enshrined in the Church i