My Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As you will see from the pictures in this issue, the walls of Saint Nicholas are beginning to glow! We have arrived at the beginning of the installation of the curtain wall and the first marble siding (lower right) that has come all the way from Greece and the same vein of Pentelic marble that was used to construct the Parthenon 2500 years ago. You will note the brightness of the building, which is the full complement of the lighting that will illuminate this marble from within and create the signature glow of our National Shrine.
When the Parthenon was constructed, one hundred thousand pounds of marble was quarried from Mount Pentelikon, and transported over thirteen miles to the Acropolis, an engineering feat the equal to the Pyramids. Thankfully, we are not bringing so much marble, but it is traveling much farther. Our λιθαγωγία – “stone conveyance” is quite a bit longer.
We begin in Attica, where the marble has been quarried from the very same vein as the Parthenon marble, which is white with a faint tint of yellow, making it shine with a golden hue under sunlight. This is an extraordinary gift of the Hellenic Republic, which reserves the Pentelic marble only for the reconstruction efforts on the Acropolis. As one writer observed, “… the Parthenon’s parts may be said to spring from the very geology of Attica.” And the same can be said for Saint Nicholas, which will be clad in the same stone as the Parthenon and be a true American Parthenon of Orthodoxy, a proud accomplishment for the Omogeneia.
Then this marble has traveled to Austria, for its fabrication into the the panels that will adorn the exterior of the building and give it that unique glow. From Austria, the panels went to Minnesota, to be assembled into their unique configuration with glass. And from Minnesota, to New York and the site of Saint Nicholas for the installation you see commenced in the photos below. A journey of over 6,700 miles!
Unlike the Parthenon, Saint Nicholas will not be a mountain of marble, but rather a monument of memory. Its glow will be a candle lit to dispel the hatred and inhumanity that was behind 9/11, and to remind the world that the Light of Christ, the Light of the Resurrection shines on, overcoming all darkness.
And in the light of Christ we will see the radiance of the faithfulness, dedication, and generosity of all those whose sacrifices have made the Saint Nicholas Church and National Shrine a reality. Please consider a gift, or another gift to the Saint Nicholas National Shrine. Everyone can have their name enshrined in the Church in perpetuity. May our light shine for all the world to behold and rejoice.
Let there be light!