Open Letter to the Greek-American Community on St. Nicholas Church & Shrine

The National Herald

External view of the dome of St. Nicholas at the World Trade Center. (Photo by GOA)

I am proud to have a long association with the Greek-American community for more than 25 years. I hope and pray many of you share my outrage with what is taking place at the soon-to-open St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine, the blatant denial of Greek-American identity in the refusal of Governor Andrew Cuomo to allow two flag poles to be erected there to proudly fly the Greek and American flags and to insist on referring to it ONLY as the St. Nicholas National Shrine. Everything Cuomo does had only one purpose: to advance his political agenda as is so obvious in all the many recent allegations against him.

My research leaves me with NO doubt at all that Governor Cuomo, with the approval of current and recent Greek Orthodox Archbishops, have as their goal to strip St. Nicholas of as much of its GREEK identity as they can. Why?

To turn the new St. Nicholas into a generic place of ‘worship’ that belongs to ‘everyone’ equally at the expense of the Greek community and the very meaning and purpose of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church established in 1916 in Lower Manhattan, whose building was DESTROYED on 9/11. Adding more insult to injury the federal government and New York State refused to pay for the new church (Cuomo can still build another chapel elsewhere at the WTC to whatever purpose he chose) in the case of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, leaving it to the Greek community to raise the funds. Now they are intent in stripping its Greek identity. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine is destined to become one of the most famous churches on Earth for generations to come. Once it opens it will be the defining center for GREEK American identity for the 21st century, except if Governor Cuomo and his ‘acolytes’ within the Greek community get their way.

This battle may not compare with the glorious Greek revolution of 1821, but it does SYMBOLICALLY.

Do not allow Andrew Cuomo to CANCEL the Greek identity of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center. TWO flag poles must be erected there flying the Greek and American flags!

Do not bow to Cuomo's misuse of power for blatant political purposes.

Arthur Piccolo, Bowling Green Association.