My Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Feast of Saint Nicholas is just behind us, Christmas is right before us, and our Saint Nicholas National Shrine is moving quickly along on its journey to completion. The Friends of St. Nicholas have shown exceptional skill in their leadership of the project, and their cooperation with the Port Authority. The “Donor Wall” that you will read about in this issue demonstrates how this synergy further enhances the purpose of Saint Nicholas at the rebuilt World Trade Center site.
Liberty Park, which contains the “Sphere” that survived 9/11, the First Responders Monument (over the location of the original Saint Nicholas), and the Anne Frank Tree is coming together around the Shrine as a truly beautiful setting for the Church. The inclusion of the “Donor Wall” in the South Garden will extend, in a virtual way, the presence of Saint Nicholas in the Park, and help to tie all of the various architectural elements together.
Because of the feast of Saint Nicholas, the Wonderworker of Myra, that has just passed, I am so glad to present Bishop Joachim’s essay on why the Life-Cycle of Saint Nicholas is so important to the identity of the Shrine. We have a tremendous story to tell about Saint Nicholas himself, which links the original Church on Cedar Street with the National Shrine. This story includes the role of Saint Nicholas in this particular neighborhood before the World Trade Center was built, the story of immigrant forebears and their journey from Ellis Island to Lower Manhattan, and the spiritual power of Saint Nicholas on September Eleventh.
Remember that every gift to Saint Nicholas National Shrine – no matter the size – will be recorded in the Shrine on the Digital Wall within the Narthex. Everyone can have their name enshrined in the Church in perpetuity. Saint Nicholas belongs to us all and all of us can help.
With prayers for a blessed celebration of Christmas and the New Year,
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America
The Donor Wall
The exterior Donor Wall for the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine will be a special dedicatory Vermont white granite wall/slab that will stand in perpetuity in the Liberty Park South Garden. The Wall will bear the engraved names of all who have donated at least $100,000 and above as a permanent commemoration of the generosity and devotion that made the rebuilding of Saint Nicholas possible.
Along with this exterior Donor Wall, there will be a Digital Donor Wall in the Narthex of the Church, which will contain the name of every single donor to the Shrine, and will be searchable by name.
Gallagher & Associates, an internationally recognized interdisciplinary design firm, is providing a complete digital presentation for the interior of the Shrine no matter the size of the gift, and will coordinate the design of the Donor Walls.
The Donor Wall in the South Garden is an added dimension of the Shrine’s presence in Liberty Park. It will face the Anne Frank Tree, a chestnut tree planted from a sapling of the same tree that Anne Frank wrote about in her diary. The tree was gifted to the Park by the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.
The “Koenig Sphere at the Plaza Fountain,” the only piece of World Trade Center artwork to survive the Sept. 11 attacks, now sits opposite the front doors of the Shrine, and America’s Response Monument, subtitled De Oppresso Liber, is a life-and-a-half scale bronze statue that depicts commemorates the service members of America’s Special Operations forces and their response to 9/11, including those who fought during the first stages of the Afghanistan war, sits atop the original site of the Saint Nicholas Church, at 155 Cedar Street.
Below, you can see more detail of one of three sample options of how the Donor Wall will be installed and what it will look like when complete.