New York, NY – A spring excursion sponsored by the senior citizens of St. Thomas Orthodox Church of Cherry Hill, NJ, visited New York on March 11, 2023, with the express destination to pay homage at the church of St. Nicholas in Manhattan.
Ably organized and led by Ms. Popi Stamatiadis, an entire busload of senior citizens, younger members of the St. Irene Philoptochos Society, their guests, and even followers by car braved potential rainy and even snowy weather to visit the newly completed and re-consecrated (2022) church, where the courteous staff greeted them.
Entering the immaculate and spectacular small building, which is simultaneously a church and shrine, the visitors were overwhelmed by the immense amount of white marble (imported from Greece) and the iconography – the latter being of particular interest to the St. Thomas folks, who are contemplating a significant increase to their already splendid iconography in their home church. They were treated to a 30-minute speech by Dimitris Katsiklis, head chanter and pastoral assistant, who presented the history of the building and explained in detail the scriptural background of the individual panels of the iconography, his splendid words echoing within the marble walls of the building.
St. Nicholas was also one of the victims of the collapse of the New York Twin Towers (the World Trade Center) caused by the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. The firm of Calatrava performed the architectural design responsible for much of the building for the Athens Olympic Games of 2004. It was damaged beyond repair but resurrected after significant financial contributions by Greek Americans and others.
Following the visit to St. Nicholas, the group descended upon the popular Astoria area in the borough of Queens, NY, to enjoy lunch at several Greek-American restaurants and shop for imported Greek products, as is their definitive conclusion to their NY trips.
Images are courtesy of John Apostolos.