St. Nicholas Feast Day Marks New Beginning for National Shrine at the WTC

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios administers the Oath of Office to the new Board of Trustees for Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine on the feast day of the patron saint of the church. 

(Photo: GOA/Dimitrios Panagos)

NEW YORK – On the feast of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, December 6, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America administered the solemn Affirmation of Office to the first Board of Trustees for the new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center (WTC). This historic and emotional moment took place in the Archdiocesan Chapel of St. Paul, and marks a new beginning in the life of this sacred church.

The members appointed (in alphabetical order) are: Richard Browne (Managing Partner, Sterling Project Development), Stephen Cherpelis (Past Vice Chairman of the Direct Archdiocesan District Council), Anthoula Katsimatides (Vice President, Family Relations at Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and sister of 9/11 victim John Katsimatides), George Mihaltses (Vice President for Government and Community Affairs, New York Public Library), George Tsandikos (Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council), Michael Psaros (Former Treasurer of the Archdiocesan Council).

Additionally, members selected from the original parish board (in alphabetical order) are: Elizabeth Dimonekas-Brody, Joan Dimonekas (Lifelong member), Regina Katopodis, Theodore P. Klingos (Financial, Cash and Budgeting Executive), Stamatios Lykos (Architect), Olga Pavlakos (Attorney at Law) and Peter Zaharatos (Architect, Design Z, LLC).

Finally, the Ex-Officio members are: Fr. Mark Leondis (President, Archdiocesan Presbyters Council), Dr. Anthony Limberakis (National Commander of the Archons), Maria Logus, (President, National Philoptochos), George E. Loucas (Supreme President, AHEPA), Argyris Vassiliou (President, L100), and a President’s designee from the FAITH Endowment.

Speaking at the conclusion of the Affirmation of Office service, Archbishop Demetrios shared with the new board his earlier visit that afternoon to St. Nicholas Church at the WTC where he offered prayers for the new board and blessed the interior of the structure with Holy Water from Bari, Italy where the holy relics of St. Nicholas currently rest. At the conclusion of his visit, the Archbishop placed an icon of St. Nicholas in the church and was captivated by the space inside the church edifice and the surrounding area including Liberty Park, the 9/11 Memorial, and the cutting-edge architecture of all the surrounding buildings.

The Archbishop commented, “St Nicholas Church is a gift from heaven that God has established for all our faithful and for all peoples. We have a sacred mission to do everything possible for its swift and proper completion.”

Immediately following the ceremony, the board convened for its first meeting and the officers were appointed: President, George Mihaltses; Vice President, Olga Pavlakos; Secretary, Elizabeth Dimonekas-Brody; and Treasurer, Theodore P. Klingos.

The overwhelming sentiment of the new board was that God had called each of them at this historic moment to assume the great responsibility of completing the most important house of worship built anywhere in the world following the tragic events of 9/11.


  1. So how about a full report on where all the money went? This should be at the top of the agenda of this new board. Without knowing and putting policies and procedures in place to avoid the errors and misdeeds of the past, how will the future be any different?

  2. Picture is of Crime Family taking the oath of Omerta nothing more. Time is running out for all of them:)

    “The overwhelming sentiment of the new board was that God had called each of them at this historic moment to assume the great responsibility of completing the most important house of worship built anywhere in the world following the tragic events of 9/11″….Funny same thing you said 15 years ago. How has it been going so far Morons?

    Leaderless 100, Faithless, and the SS Archons are all Social Clubs without Crosses.

  3. If, IF, this is a worthy undertaking it was approached ham-handedly and wrong-headedly. Looking backward it’s impossible to applaud what’s been done. And how it was done.

    But now, even if, IF, wat is a worthy undertaking, it is very, very unlikely that it will be completed.

    And not by ANY of the people tainted with failures-to-date.
    If they had any sense, or humility, they would know this.

    Stick a fork in it. Kai synharitiria.

  4. This article has zero journalistic integrity. No mention of the prior scandal or anything to fix the problems or punish the perpetrators. Just a puff piece about the same thieves who stole once come back in to pluck the suckers again. This is a disgrace.

  5. This looks like the same gang in the old Amos n’Andy tv series when they were in the Mystic Knights of the Sea Lodge, Andrew H. Brown, Grand Pouba, testing out Kingfish’s newest scam.

    Also, could make the case that it looks like Hitlers’ bunker under the Reichstag about 2 hours before the Russians ran over them. But who is Eva Braun?

    Theh Drepounte? Trying a “new start” amidst lies, lies, and more lies.

    Anyway, Mr. Michael Jokekos will have pages and pages to write about when he wakes up from his nap and sees this because this sure looks like the Secret Society Batcave Meeting of the GRAND AHEPA MASONS ILLUMINATI ODESSA CIA FELLOWSHIP (Astoria Chapter) !

    Over to you, Mike.

  6. One on my mentors, a very wise man once told me:

    “The circus never leaves town only the clowns change.”

    In reading this article I can truly say in the case of the St. Nicholas Shrine that not only does the circus never leave town the clowns don’t change either.

  7. Regardless of who these people are or how corrupt or incompetent our leaders are, this church needs to finish and open its doors. As Greek Americans this is something we should all want regardless of who’s running the show. Bishops come and go but the church will always be there for future generations to enjoy and people will say “the Greeks built this church on this sacred ground, the only Christian church at ground zero.

    1. Niko that is a fine sentiment, but if we leave the same ass clowns in charge who stole the money once, with no apologies or accountability, what is to keep the ass clowns from stealing again? I gave $1,000 when the ass clowns asked before. Not another penny until there is accountability.

    2. The new ass clowns will be the same Michael. It will only get worse. Let’s go to church and not judge the messenger. Only listen to the message which never changes. That’s what makes Orthodoxy so great, unlike the pope, no one here can change doctrine. God has something in store for them I promise you.

    3. @Niko,

      The future of the Greek Orthodox church lies within the hearts, minds, and spirituality of the Greek Orthodox faithful – not Bishops, Priests, or real estate. We the “laity” have the love and talent to build ministries and to be a positive change in our communities.

      With love in Christ…

    1. Please let me offer my best wishes as well for all our Spiridons today! Have a beautiful and God-protected day each of you!! Kai tou xronou!!

  8. Gosh, as one who worked on a project that raised and donated over $25,000.00 to this project, I too feel that
    we were betrayed. We worked for over 3 months, every day, to raise those funds. I can’t blame those lay people who are being sworn in, but I really feel that the Archbishop should have been replaced, as well as those in the Archdiocese who were involved in the finances.

    1. I’m sorry for your disappointment, Mr. Petros.
      Now consider every parish across America that was built on the backs of all the humble faithful, of modest means, who for decades earned that money, and who quietly toiled for it for the good of others, with hope and faith…. penny by penny, bean by bean… the monumental betrayal of them

      then contrast that with a few over-ambitious ‘ass clowns’, as others in these comments have named them, who’ve rapidly blown money by the million$ through arrogance, ineptitude, and self-serving ambition.

      It’s not just the current crop of idiot chiefs. Why did it become OK for our Church to designate levels of membership BASED SOLELY ON MONETARY CONTRIBUTION?! The acclaimed Leadership 100 was a lazy and evil way IMHO, for then Archbishop Iakovos to get his politically ambitious hands on easy money. The camel’s nose got under the tent since then, and today there are many camels filling the tent and fouling the entire church. How many of us say nothing, but distance ourselves from this ‘country club’?

      If it weren’t for the ‘prestige’ (fancy jackets and medals with ribbons!), what has our Archdiocese accomplished? They have divided us into classes, and diminished and sullied it all by doing so. Do Archons take communion first in your parish?!

      The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese should be at least twice as big, and full of active supplicants. It saddens me to have seen so many good, faithful people LEAVE the church, FOR DECADES, in disgust.

      We all learned as children, that the church is not the buildings, it is the people. Every little one of us. Have you ever observed our hierarchs when they visit your community? Whom do they chat with, whom do they inquire about? “You are what you do every day.”—apply that to our church ‘leaders’, clergy and laity.

      If this ‘shrine’ is stubbornly completed in the manner that we’ve seen, it will be because the usual suspects will have gotten some unworthy money (remember, the Archbishop doesn’t ask how it was earned !!!!) so that the tourists who enter it will admire how shiny the floors are and brag about some egotistical architecture that was erected as a trophy.

      It all is truly horrifying.

    2. Your comment is spot on and to your point I see no problem with the Archdiocese funding whatever ridiculous amount of money they claim they need to finish the Shrine.

      I mean come on it’s just as simple as them going to all of their “Best and the Brightest” parishioners, have them write big checks in return for giant bronze plaques with their names on them (or in that not so subtle act of humility – honoring their parents names) festooning the interior of the Shrine and badda bing problem solved!

      Hey and maybe they can do it like they do in pro sports and get a really, really big check from someone for the naming rights of the outside of the dome – The St. Nicholas Shrine sponsored by (fill in the name of obnoxious gas bag Greek here).

      You know like how Nike has their giant swoosh stripe on the roof of the Cowboys Stadium or how the how Met Life has their name on Giants Stadium!

      But those of us who know better know that the “big donors” are smarter than this, what usually happens is they come in and wag their fingers and bully the peons in the church to cough up donations, which they then bundle and deliver to the local Metropolitan or to the Archdiocese and then get their picture on the front page of the Orthodox Observer and all the credit as well.

  9. So now that the new board has been sworn in when do they get to work on the really important stuff like organizing the next awards banquet for Michael Psaros?

  10. Anthoula Katsimatidesis pro-abortion!
    How can she claim to be Orthodox?
    That is why GOD curses all of them.

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