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.