My Beloved Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Could there have been a more fitting climax to the Apostolic Visit of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the United States than the “Opening of the Doors” service at the Saint Nicholas National Shrine, and the crowning of the Church with the Holy Cross? The dramatic raising of the permanent Cross atop Church, and the presentation of the Precious Relic of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker at the “Opening of the Doors.” when His All Holiness gave his special blessing to the Shrine, was truly a crowning moment of the Visit. The fact that occurred on the very day of the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Enthronement of His All Holiness as Ecumenical Patriarch – which I also honor as the feast of my Patron Saint, the Holy Martyr Elpidophoros – made the day all the more extraordinary.
Therefore, in place of my usual message, I present to you once again the message of His All Holiness at Ground Zero and our Saint Nicholas National Shrine. These are words that merit our consideration again and again, as we come closer each and every day to the full operation of the Shrine as our ministry to the Nation.
With the prayers of our Ecumenical Patriarch, the Lord will indeed establish the Saint Nicholas National Shrine unto ages of ages.
With Love and Blessings in the Lord Jesus Christ,
Archbishop of America
Remarks of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Special Opening of the Doors of the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine
We stand here today, on this Hallowed Ground at the World Trade Center, where the world changed in a cruel and terrible moment twenty years ago.
We stand here, before Church and National Shrine of Saint Nicholas, the Wonder-working Archbishop of Myra in Lycia, whose historical See is an integral part of the Holy Mother and Great Church of Christ: our Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
We stand here today, before a Church resurrected by faith and devotion, and extraordinary toil and labor.
We stand here today, as we celebrate the Thirtieth Anniversary of our Enthronement as the Successor to the Holy Apostle Andrew, the First-Called Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And we stand here today, celebrating the Patronal Feast of our spiritual son, His Eminence Elpidophoros, to whom we have entrusted the hopes or our Eparchy in this Great Nation, the Holy Archdiocese of America.
This Sacred Ground of the American experience, is where the Orthodox Christian Faith will take the lead in manifesting to the world that there is more good than evil, that there is life beyond death, and that love will always triumph over hatred.
We have come to this place to open Doors on Greek Orthodoxy to the American Consciousness of what the best in religion can be.
We have come to this place to open Doors on the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Her Spiritual Mission and History.
We have come to this place to open Doors on the story of the Immigrants who came to these shores in the shadow of Lady Liberty, searching for a new life and new opportunities.