Praise For TNH Columnists, But Not For Calatrava

A TNH reader likes the well-informed opinions of the paper's foreign experts but another isn't happy with the design of the new St. Nicholas Church at Ground Zero.

Because of all the turmoil on this planet, I always look forward to reading the commentaries of Ambassador Patrick Theros and Dr. Andre Gerolymatos in order to try and make some sense of it all.

With the controlled mainstream media constantly slanting the news or reporting only half truths, in order to satisfy certain financially powerful interests, it is very difficult for the average person to really know what is going on.

For those reasons, it is very refreshing to read the columns of Theros and Gerolymatos, both of whom are well-versed in foreign affairs. Ambassador Theros especially, with his many years in the U.S. Foreign Service, serving primarily in Middle East countries, has firsthand knowledge and understanding of what brought on the mess we are in.

In my opinion it can only get worse, especially now that we are even taking on Russia as an enemy. For every Arab or Muslim, especially innocent civilians, that we or our so- called “allies” kill, there is a blowback. It will only create more new members for organizations like ISIS. There has to be a better way.

At the end of WWII, the Arabs and Muslims were our friends. They looked up to the United States as an anti-colonial power. It seems we squandered all that good will away. Now we are squandering away our treasure, to the detriment of needed social programs and infrastructure.

Mitchell W. Ticoras
Mequon, WI


New St. Nicholas Should Look Traditional, Not Trendy

In seeing the renderings of the proposed new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at Ground Zero, it looks like a huge mausoleum structure without any grace, more befitting a cemetery locale.

Although I very much enjoy architect Santiago Calatrava’s creative energy in giving various structures a whimsical sculptural effect, I must say, that being the “architect toujours” does not at all render him the best candidate for this particular project.

The Archdiocese desperately needs to seek out an architect that is in complete and total understanding of such an important structure, that will be universally representative of its true Byzantine Orthodox nature and liturgical purpose, instead of foolishly paying for a “designer-label ” church.

In the past the Archdiocese has approved many tasteless church structures of contemporary interpretation that are horrendous.

The basic geometric components of Byzantine architecture exist in Calatrava’s rendering, but they have been morphed to exaggerated proportions. The new St. Nicholas looks like a cold and stark structure surrounded by reflective glass skyscrapers.

In a city that prides itself in its diversity, I believe that the juxtaposition of a more classical and true Byzantine church should be considered, that incorporates not only the necessary architectural elements of a Greek Orthodox church but also its textures, colors, and vitality in making it a living entity.

Nicholas Tanis
Brooklyn, NY

1 Comment

  1. I agree with the comments by Nicholas Tanis. Calatrava is known to construct bridges, Olympic venues and other buildings. But, that does not make him an expert in Orthodox church design. Why pick Calatrava when architecta that are familiar with the tradition of Byzantine church building are available and I’m sure less expensive than Calatrava. If there is time, let’s scrap the plans for this tasteless building and start from the beginning.

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