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November 3, 2021

The Iconography for Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at Ground Zero in New York City Currently in Production at Mount Athos

With the inauguration of Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at Ground Zero in Manhattan this week by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Greek program Koinonia Ora on MEGA took the opportunity to interview Father Loukas, perhaps the best iconographer of the Holy Mountain of Athos, who resides at Xenophontos Monastery and is currently working on the iconography for Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine. It will therefore be his iconography which will be displayed at this National Shrine of the United States.

In the interview Father Loukas explains that due to the fact construction inside the temple is currently underway, which prevents him from doing his work onsite, he is doing the work for the iconography of the temple from his monastery workshop on tarps, which will then be transferred to Manhattan when construction is completed. He hopes to transfer his work and install it in the middle of 2022.

Displayed behind Father Loukas is the fresco of dedication common in many Orthodox shrines, a symbolic display which here depicts Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew dedicating the temple to, receiving the blessing from, and handing it over to Saint Nicholas, who will be its patron. Father Loukas said this particular mural took him about a month to complete.

To prepare for this task, Father Loukas said: "I have been to New York twice, to measure the space, to understand what topics will come in, how they will come in, what colors we will work with, what will be the atmosphere of this temple."
See video here.