|My Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,|
As we approach the National Holiday of Thanksgiving, the Saint Nicholas National Shrine has much to be thankful for. The Friends of St. Nicholas continue to lead this effort with transparency, responsibility, and accountability. The iconographic program that I wrote of last month has come together and in this issue, we have the first of many essays to come by Bishop Joachim of Amissos on this program.
We must remember that the Shrine will be a tremendous missionary witness in our Nation. Many of our fellow citizens – especially those who are not Orthodox Christians – will have an extraordinary opportunity for the first time to be exposed to the best of our Orthodox Tradition, especially our glorious iconography. Our painted liturgy, our visual theology, will be presented in a comprehensive program that speaks through the Christological cycle, the life cycle (vita) of Saint Nicholas himself, and elements of the that fateful day of September Eleventh that will speak to all people of the loss and heroism that can never be forgotten.
I am enthusiastic that as we share the glories of our Orthodox Church at the Saint Nicholas National Shrine, we will embrace new friends and indeed members of our Holy Orthodox Church. Our goal is to bear witness – to our Faith, to the History and Memory of 9/11, and to the goal of mutual respect and mutual understanding, for these are the virtues that can help us avoid such terrible events in the future.
There is still much to do and much to accomplish to complete the Shrine. You can still be involved if that is your wish. As we race to the finish line, I hope that you will help us magnify our efforts. And if you have not yet participated, join us and join this historic ministry of the Greek Orthodox Church of America.
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