Why Saint Nicholas Matters

Why Saint Nicholas Matters

  • The National Shrine is the only house of worship at the World Trade Center and replaces the original Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the only house of worship destroyed in the attacks on September 11, 2001. 
  • The National Shrine will be an important place for the millions of people who visit the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, giving them a place to pray, reflect, and seek solace not only in the Church itself but in the non-denominational bereavement center as well. We believe the National Shrine will not only be the most visited Church in New York, but the entire country. 
  • Over 3,000 souls of all faiths perished in the attacks on September 11.  The National Shrine, with its Justinian Cross, will tower over what is now essentially a gravesite for those martyrs that lost their lives on that horrendous day. 
  • The Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine will glow at night, illuminating the light of Christ and will serve as a beacon of hope for people of all faiths.
  • The National Shrine is the most prominent Orthodox Church in the U.S. and an Icon of Holy Orthodoxy to the world.
  • His Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros observed that because Saint Nicholas will be the most visited church in the United States, and perhaps the world, it will provide missionary witness to Holy Orthodoxy for the many non-Orthodox that will visit the Shrine.
  • The National Shrine will be our “American Parthenon” -  The most visible symbol of Hellenism in the United States of America. 
  • Our American Hagia Sophia – The architecture of the National Shrine is a modern interpretation of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. As we all know, the Turkish Government defied world opinion and its own history when it converted Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque. The National Shrine is the daughter of Hagia Sophia and will stand as witness not only to the vitality of Holy Orthodoxy, but for America’s commitment to religious freedom. The Shrine will be a defiant symbol of opposition to the forces or intolerance around the globe. 
  • The National Shrine will be a powerful symbol of the Resurrection of the World Trade Center, New York City and the United States of America. 
  • The National Shrine will be a shining example of the triumph of light over darkness!

Thoughts on Saint Nicholas

St. Nicholas is not just a national shrine, but rather a global shrine.  St. Nicholas is a symbol of peace and unity to a country that is desperately divided and a world which is in chaos.”  - Governor Andrew Cuomo, January 2, 2020

“We are going to open the Saint Nicholas Church and National Shrine as a sign of love, not hate, a sign of reconciliation, not of prejudice, and a sign of the ideals that exist in this great American Nation, where one’s religious liberty and freedom of conscience never excludes, but only embraces.” - His Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros 

“In New York, we know from experience that rebuilding after a crisis means much more than just restoring bricks and mortar or reviving an economy; it also requires healing a broken spirit.  This Church helps that healing, and it will be a national shrine, rising on a place made sacred by the suffering that took place here and will send a powerful message to the world that New York
is a state made stronger by tolerance and our respect for one another.” 
- Governor Andrew Cuomo, August 3, 2020

“Somehow all of our community’s aspirations, pride and redemption are enshrined in this magnificent edifice that is being built.” - Mr. Demetri Papacostas