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Friends of St. Nicholas Vice Chair Michael Psaros Speaks to TNH

BOSTON – Michael Psaros, Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, member of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocese and vice chairman of the The Friends of St. Nicholas (FOSN), the organization that has assumed the historic responsibility of building the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine in an interview with The National Herald announced to the Greek-American Community and the World that “the project is on time and on budget. Our progress is remarkable, and we thank Mr. Richard Browne, FOSN volunteer COO, and others for their successful effort.” 

The entire interview with Psaros, a man of deep faith in Christ and His Church, and a globally renowned entrepreneur follows:

The National Herald: How do you feel about the St. Nicholas National Shrine as we embark on the journey of Holy Week and Pascha? 

Michael Psaros: We are a people of the Resurrection. St. Nicholas represents the resurrection of Ground Zero, of New York City and, as His Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros has proclaimed, the resurrection of the Holy Archdiocese of America. The Resurrection is the Light, and the light that will shine from within St. Nicholas will stand as an eternal witness and cenotaph for the 3,000 souls who were martyred that day. 

TNH: Is it true that the ‘Thyranixia – Door Opening’ will be by the Ecumenical Patriarch? 

Michael Psaros: The Holy Archdiocese and the Friends of St. Nicholas are humbled, honored, and excited that His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, will officiate the thyranixia of the National Shrine on November 2, 2021. This will be a historic event for our Church in America and Holy Orthodoxy around the world. 

TNH: What is the status of the timing and funding of the project as of April 23, 2021?

Michael Psaros: The project is on time and on budget. Our progress is remarkable, and we thank Mr. Richard Browne, FOSN volunteer COO, and others, for their successful effort. 

The exterior of the National Shrine should be substantially complete by September 11, 2021 and the interior should be complete by April 2022.  

FOSN has expended approximately $18 million to construct the National Shrine between January 2, 2020 and today. FOSN has $16 million of total cash on hand and $12.5 million of outstanding pledges (receivables). The remaining cost to complete the National Shrine is approximately $23.4 million including a contingency of $1.5 million. 

TNH: How do you respond to those people who worry St. Nicholas will not be an Orthodox Church but a museum? 

Michael Psaros: The National Shrine is a consecrated Greek Orthodox Church modeled after St. Sophia in Constantinople. It is our American Parthenon. St. Nicholas has a parish that will return to its new Church. The National Shrine will have a rich liturgical life and be one of the most visited Churches in the U.S. St. Nicholas will also be the most visited Orthodox Church by non-Orthodox in the world, and its novel Iconography will inspire our own faithful and introduce the splendor of Holy Orthodoxy to millions of people every year.    

TNH: Would you please tell us about the Donor Wall

Michael Psaros: We are grateful to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for granting us the extraordinary privilege of erecting a permanent Donor Wall recognition in Liberty Park for all to see and enjoy. The Donor Wall will be located in Liberty Park on the south side of our National Shrine right across from the Anne Frank Tree. The white granite Vermont stone will have the names, etched in gold, of all the major donors who gave $100,000 and above. This Donor Wall will be a permanent tribute to the major benefactors who have made possible the rebuilding of our National Shrine, which will bask in the radiant light of the Statue of Liberty which welcomed our parents and grandparents to this country. Any family or organization who wishes to be included on the Donor Wall must make a donation by May 29, 2021. Please contact FOSN or Father Alexander Karloutsos at your earliest opportunity.  

TNH: How do we keep informed about St. Nicholas?

Michael Psaros: Please visit www.stnicholaswtc.org and sign up for a brief, but powerful, monthly newsletter published by FOSN that provides a comprehensive update on the all activities involving the National Shrine, including a live “web-cam”. There is also an opportunity to make a donation on the web site.  

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