1 JULY AUGUST 2015 Vol. 80 No $1.00 Assembly of Bishops Response to Supreme Court Ruling The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America strongly disagrees with the United States Supreme Court decision of June 26, Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court invents a constitutional right for two members of the same sex to marry, and imposes upon all States the responsibility to license and recognize such marriages. The Supreme Court, in the narrowest majority possible, has overstepped its purview by essentially re-defining marriage itself. It has attempted to settle a polarizing social and moral question through legislative fiat. It is immoral and unjust for our government to establish in law a right for two members of the same sex to wed. Such legislation harms society and especially threatens children who, where possible, deserve the loving care of both a father and a mother. As Orthodox Christian bishops, charged by our Savior Jesus Christ to shepherd His flock, we will continue to uphold and proclaim the teaching of our Lord that marriage, from its inception, is the lifelong sacramental union of a man and a woman. We call upon all Orthodox Christians in our nation to remain firm in their Orthodox faith, and to renew their deep reverence for and commitment to marriage as taught by the Church. We also call upon our nation s civic leaders to respect the law of Almighty God and uphold the deeply-rooted beliefs of millions of Americans. In THIS ISSUE Santiago Calatrava design St. Nicholas Shrine An important component of the project is being offered by a key lay leader of the Archdiocese. P. 5 12,000 meals Philoptochos members in three states take on project to feed hungry kids. P. 7 Family Care A better understanding of our priests P. 24 Archbishop Demetrios joins bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and other dignitaries on the state at TD Arena following President Obama s eulogy. The program lasted for several hours and was attended by a capacity audience in the thousands. The scene was captured on a production computer of the Orthodox Observer from a telecast by Yahoo TV. Archbishop Remains Vigilant for Greek Crisis, Urges Unity by Stavros Papagermanos NEW YORK Responding to the ongoing economic crisis and recent developments in Greece, Archbishop Demetrios has expressed his concern and the boundless love, strong interest and full support of the Greek Orthodox faithful in America for the suffering Greek people. In a press release issued after the interruption of talks between the Greek government and the European Union (June NEW YORK TIME magazine s website published an exclusive article outlining the response of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the Climate Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis Laudato Si, presented June 18 at the Vatican. The article starts with the words of His All-Holiness as follows: In a series of seminars organized between 1994 and 1998 on the island of Halki off the coast of Istanbul in Turkey, we drew attention to the close connection between ecology and economy. Both terms share the Greek root oikos, which signifies home. It therefore came as no surprise to us that our beloved brother Francis of Rome opens his encyclical, which is being released today in the New Synod Hall of the Vatican, with a reference to God s creation as our common home. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has been the first one in the Christian world to draw the attention of the world community to the seriousness of the ecological problem and the duty of the Church to voice its concern and try to contribute with all the spiritual means 26) on the worsening economic situation, and the referendum held Sunday, July 5, on whether to accept or reject the latest plan offered by Greece s creditors, the Archbishop stressed the need for composure and prudence and maintaining by all means concord and unity in dealing with any difficulties and situations; Always with the help of the Almighty God. Archbishop Demetrios also wrote to to page 19 Ecumenical Patriarch Responds to Pope s Climate Encyclical at its disposal towards the protection of our natural environment, said Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon, who represented the Ecumenical Patriarch at the presentation of the Pope s Encyclical. The issuing of the Encyclical Laudato Si is, therefore, an occasion of great joy and satisfaction for the Orthodox, said Metropolitan John. On behalf of them I should like to express our deep gratitude to His Holiness for raising his authoritative voice to draw the attention of the world to the urgent need to protect God s creation from the damage we humans inflict on it with our behavior towards nature. He said the encyclical comes at a critical moment in human history and will undoubtedly have a worldwide effect on people s consciousness. To read the TIME magazine article go to: To read the full text of Metropolitan John of Pergamon intervention go to: Archbishop Condemns S.C. Church Shooting, Attends Pastor s Funeral CHARLESTON, S.C. In the aftermath of the killing of nine persons by a gunman at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) on June 17, Archbishop Demetrios traveled to Charleston on Jun. 25 to attend the funeral of state Sen. Rev. Clementa Pinckney who was among the victims. The funeral service took place in TD Arena at the College of Charleston. President Obama delivered the eulogy. Because of the change in his schedule, the Archbishop was unable to attend the Pan-Macedonian Association s annual convention opening ceremony in Newton, Mass. Archbishop Demetrios, very saddened by the news of the shooting of nine persons at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, S.C., on June 17, expressed on behalf of the Archdiocese, deep sorrow, sympathy and prayers for the victims, their families and their community. Issues Condolence Statement On June 19, Archbishop Demetrios issued a statement expressing his sadness and deep sorrow, sympathy and prayers for the victims, their families and their community. His Eminence further stated, I am deeply saddened and distraught by the news of this heinous crime, he stated, which took place in a church, in a sacred place of worship, during a time of Bible study. We, the Greek Orthodox Church in America, mourn the loss of innocent lives and stand in solidarity with the people of the community in Charleston. We pray fervently to God for the repose of the souls of the victims and for strength, comfort and consolation to their loved ones and everyone affected by this unspeakable tragedy. Furthermore, we firmly reiterate the unyielding commitment of the Orthodox Church to all efforts for the elimination of the causes of similar inhuman actions. Attends service The Archbishop took part in a fullday of activities held June 26 at TD Arena, which was filled to capacity by thousands. His Eminence was the only religious leader and hierarch of any other Christian denomination to attend. About 30 bishops and lay leaders of the AME Church were present. Also attending were Vice President and Mrs. Joe Biden, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner, Hillary Clinton and other U.S. and state government officials. President Barack Obama arrived later in the program to deliver the eulogy and to page 3
2 2 To contact National Ministries Archives Communications Greek Education Internet Ministries Inter Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Ionian Village Marriage & Family Parish Development Philanthropy Public Affairs Registry Religious Education Stewardship, Outreach & Evangelism Youth and Young Adult Ministries NEXT DEADLINE Deadline for submitting information, articles and photos for consideration in the September issue: Friday, Aug. 28 Photos should be sent as a large format.jpg attachment (300 dpi min.). to: Regular mail: Editor, Orthodox Observer, 8 E. 79 th St., New York, NY USPS ISSN In 2015, published monthly except February March and July August by the Greek Ortho dox Archdiocese of America. Editorial and Business Offi ce: 8 East 79 th Street, New York, NY TEL.: (212) FAX (212) by Steven Christoforou EDITOR IN CHIEF: Jim Golding (Chryssoulis) GREEK SECTION EDITOR, PRODUCTION & ADVERTISING: Eleftherios Pissalidis GRAPHIC ARTIST: Abel Montoya ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT: Soula Podaras BUSINESS MANAGER: Marissa P. Costidis THEOLOGICAL CONSULTANT: Dn. Eleftherios Constantine ARCHDIOCESE NEWS How to Contact Archdiocesan Institutions, Metropolises and Related Agencies and Organizations Direct Archdiocesan District ; Metropolis of Chicago ; Metropolis of Boston ; Metropolis of Denver ; Metropolis of Atlanta ; Metropolis of Detroit ; Metropolis of Pittsburgh ; Metropolis of San Francisco ; Metropolis of New Jersey ; Archdiocesan Institutions Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity C O N T R I B U T I N G P H O T O G R A P H E R S : Dimitrios Panagos Nicholas Manginas Tel ; Hellenic College Holy Cross School of Theology ; Saint Basil Academy ; St. Michael s Home ; St. Photios National Shrine ; Other key organizations and services National Philoptochos ; Internet Ministries: Orthodox Jobs: Orthodox Marketplace: Online Store for Parishes: freebookstore Orthodox Children s Bible Reader Online: cbr.goarch.org Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and at additional mailing offices. The Orthodox Observer is produced entirely in house. Past issues can be found on the Internet at: e mail: Articles and advertising do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America which are expressed in official statements so labeled. Subscription rates are $12 per year. Canada $25. Overseas Air Mail, $55 per year. $1.50 per copy. Subscriptions for the membership of the Greek Orthodox Church in America are paid through their contribution to the Archdiocese. Of this contribution, $5 is forwarded to the Orthodox Observer. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: ORTHODOX OBSERVER, 8 East 79 th Street, New York, NY JULY AUGUST 2015 Ionian Village Celebrates 45 Years of Youth Ministry VARTHOLOMIO, Greece On June 23, Ionian Village, the international summer camping ministry of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, began its celebratory 45 th anniversary summer. Founded in the 1960 s through the vision of the late Archbishop Iakovos, Ionian Village first summer of camping ministry was in 1970 under the leadership and dedication of Fr. George Poulos. Over the following 44 years, Ionian Village has welcomed more than 17,000 campers through its gates with one simple goal: to provide its campers and staff with a life-transforming experience by bringing them closer to our Orthodox faith and exploring our rich Hellenic culture and history. This summer not only marks the 45 th year of the camp, but also the highest number of registrants in the history of the camp. With over 200 campers in each sold-out session, our incredible team of staff, doctors, and clergy, along with the largest Spiritual Odyssey pilgrimage for young adults in recent history, Ionian Village will host more people this summer than ever before. This success is truly a testament to our young adults who lead our campers throughout the summer. These young adult leaders leave their jobs, their internships, and their summer classes behind and come to Greece for more than a vacation. In a generation that is obsessed with advancing and succeeding, these young adults are focusing not on themselves, but on the next generation, not on making them successful business people, but true Orthodox Christians. It is amazing to see these young adults from every corner of the country come together and lead; they are so much more than camp counselors, they are leading the next generation on this pilgrimage throughout Greece, and ultimately to Jesus Christ, remarked Ionian Village Director Fr. Evagoras Constantinides. Ionian Village is located at the idyllic campgrounds near Glyfa Beach, of the Prefecture of Elia in northwestern Peloponnese. Campers, together with their staff members, travel to numerous sites of historical and religious importance including Ancient Olympia, the islands of Zakynthos and Kefallonia, Patras, the monasteries of Mega Spilaion and Agia Lavra, the island of Aegina, the historic and martyric town of Kalavryta and, lastly, Athens. Session one of Ionian Village runs until mid July, with session two from mid-july to early August, welcoming campers from every metropolis of the Archdiocese. For more information about Ionian Village or to see updates from the 45 th year of summer camping ministries, visit www. ionianvillage.org Youth Ministry Spreads Gospel through Metaphor of Bee The Church has been blessed with many kinds of saints. Some were models of ascetic struggle. Others were exemplars of philanthropy and true love of neighbor. Still others confessed and preached the Faith, with love and joy, to all they met. Following the example of these last saints in particular, the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministry has been working tirelessly to spread the joy of the Gospel in a clear and understandable way. Much effort has, in particular, been devoted to creating online video resources. Over the past two years, Be the Bee has proven to be a very successful and welcome example of this effort. It is available to all as a free resource at com/y2am and BeTheBee.goarch.org. It is a weekly video series produced by the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries (Y2AM for short). St. Basil the Great, St John Chrysostom, Elder Paisios, and others developed the beautiful metaphor of the bee, which travels from flower to flower in search only of the good nectar, leaving what is bad behind, so it can make honey and share it with the hive and all who enjoy this sweetness. In fact, a bee does not even notice what is filthy, but is drawn directly to what is sweet. Building on this metaphor, the video series helps people find God in everything, every day, and encourages them to share the gift of the Gospel with all they encounter. In short, being the bee is a saying that simply and clearly expresses our calling as Orthodox Christians. As of July 2015, Y2AM has produced 75 episodes of Be the Bee and is viewed by thousands of people around the world. It is routinely used by Sunday schools, camping programs, youth groups, young adult groups, and families as a tool to learn and grow in the Faith. The official Be the Bee website, BeTheBee.goarch.org, also provides helpful readings and study questions for each episode. In time, it will also provide model JOY and GOYA lesson plans for each video. We pray that you will not simply watch every week, but also help share these episodes every week, and be coworkers and co-evangelists in a world that so desperately needs the truth of Christ and His Church. Steven Christoforou is director of the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Change of Address To submit a change of address: Contact Soula Podaras at fax: Or regular mail to: Orthodox Observer, 8 E. 79 th St., New York, NY Be sure to include old address, new address and name of parish. Questions about submitting news and photos: Jim Golding (212) ; For advertising or the Greek section: Lefteris Pissalidis, (212) ;
3 JULY AUGUST 2015 ARCHDIOCESE NEWS 3 Meeting at the Phanar Present at the meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch and Elder Metropolitan John of Pergamon were the following members of the Executive Committee: Archbishop Demetrios (Ecumenical Patriarchate, Assembly Chairman), Bishop John (Moscow Patriarchate, Second-Vice Chairman), Metropolitan Antony (Treasurer), Bishop Longin (Patriarchate of Serbia), Archbishop Nicolae (Patriarchate of Romania), Metropolitan Joseph (Patriarchate of Bulgaria), Bishop Saba (Patriarchate of Georgia). Also present were Bishop Maxim (Coordinator for Committees) and Metropolitan Tikhon (OCA). Archbishop Demetrios, Bishop John, Metropolitan Antony, Bishop Longin, Archbishop Nicolae, Metropolitan Joseph, Bishop Saba, Bishop Maxim, and Metropolita Tikhon. Assembly of Bishops Executive Committee Meets with Ecumenical Patriarch ISTANBUL On Tuesday, June 16, 2015 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received the executive committee of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America at the Phanar in Constantinople. During the meeting, which took place in a spirit of open exchange in the personal office of the Ecumenical Patriarch, the hierarchs reviewed with His All-Holiness the work of the Assembly of Bishops, especially as it relates to the overall work of its committees. Particular attention was given to the work of the Committees for Pastoral Practice and Canonical Regional Planning. The hierarchs also discussed a number of challenges and opportunities in the formulation of a proposed plan for the restructuring of the Orthodox Church in the United States. Joining the Ecumenical Patriarch, Elder Metropolitan John of Pergamon from page 1 led in the singing of the Protestant hymn Amazing Grace. Following the event, which began about 10 a.m. and lasted until about 3 p.m., the Archbishop joined other dignitaries and AME clergy to visit the scene of the murders at the Emanuel AME Church, including the basement where the Bible study was taking place at the time of the shootings. Archbishop Demetrios completed the day with an unscheduled visit to Charleston s Greek Orthodox church, Holy Trinity, where a wedding rehearsal was under way. After blessing the future bride and discussed the mission of the Assemblies of Bishops as originally envisioned at their inception in Chambésy in Both the Ecumenical Patriarch and Metropolitan John commended the efforts of the US hierarchs, and acknowledged their work as a model for inter-orthodox cooperation. Present at the meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch and Elder Metropolitan John of Pergamon were the following members of the Executive Committee: Archbishop Demetrios (Ecumenical Patriarchate, Assembly chairman), Bishop John (Moscow Patriarchate, second-vice chairman), Metropolitan Antony (treasurer), Bishop Longin (Patriarchate of Serbia), Archbishop Nicolae (Patriarchate of Romania), Metropolitan Joseph (Patriarchate of Bulgaria), Bishop Saba (Patriarchate of Georgia). Also present were Bishop Maxim (coordinator for committees) and Metropolitan Tikhon (OCA). Archbishop Demetrios Condemns S.C. Church Shooting, Attends Pastor s Funeral groom, he departed for New York. The AME Church is one of the oldest denominations in the United States. It has its roots in the Free African Society established by free blacks in Philadelphia in 1787 as a result of racial discrimination experienced in mainstream congregations. It officially began in 1816 and major congregations were established in major cities in the north from Boston to Cincinnati and reached the West Coast by the 1850s. Currently, the AME Church has about 7.5 million members in 12,000 congregations. South Carolina alone has about 600 congregations. To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, The annual celebration of Independence Day in this country is an opportunity for all to reflect on the value of freedom, its role in the history of the United States of America, and the opportunities it provides for relationships, life, and well-being. The value and priority of freedom is evident in the history of this country, both through the struggles to achieve it for all persons as well as in the great accomplishments and progress that have been made from the freedom to think, speak, move, invent, and succeed. As Greek Americans and Orthodox Christians we celebrate this freedom. We recognize the blessings that freedom has provided to our families and ourselves as we live, work, and worship in this country. We also recognize the value of freedom in emphasizing our heritage and identity. We are free to share this cherished heritage in an environment that values freedom of expression and the open Encyclical Independence Day sharing of ideas and diversity. We have much to offer from our heritage. As members of this society and as Orthodox Christians we know we are truly free when our pursuits and goals are not for ourselves but for the benefit and spiritual well-being of others and for the honor and glory of God. Our freedom to speak is an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel. Our freedom to live securely is freedom to keep our ultimate trust in God. Our freedom to move is our opportunity to follow our faith with praxis in the care of those in need. Our freedom to achieve is the opportunity for spiritual growth in communion with God and to guide others to do the same. Our freedom to believe is our opportunity to be a constant and beautiful witness through our worship in truth and love. As we join with family, communities, and as a nation in the observance of Independence Day and the celebration of freedom, may we affirm our commitment to sharing the true freedom we have in our Lord Jesus Christ, and may we lead others to see the abundant life and tremendous blessings that this freedom offers to all people. With paternal love in Christ, Dimitrios Panagos photos DEMETRIOS, Archbishop of Amer i ca
4 4 ARCHDIOCESE NEWS JULY AUGUST 2015 Pasadena Hosts 32 nd National Oratorical Festival PASADENA, Calif. Eighteen young people from throughout the Archdiocese successfully talked their way through the parish, district and metropolis levels of the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival since March to qualify for the national event taking place June 4-6. They and their families were welcomed upon their arrival in Southern California by the host committee headed by Irene Albeck, Judith Christopoulos and Athena Dallas. Senior participants (above) and juniors with Metropolitan Gerasimos, Bishop Apostolos and oratorical festival organizers. (Allen Altchech photos) After a paraklesis service with Fr. Peter Stratos, pastor, and ice-breaker social with a cast member of The Goldbergs TV show (Stephanie Yallourakis Grant), they were greeted by Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco. At the Saturday morning competition, one of the most popular topics in the junior division related to Malala Yousafzai, an inspirational example of fighting fearlessly for a noble cause in spite of threats against her life under the topic Discuss a young saint or person from the Bible who illustrates such courage. Two of the current topics in the senior division were: The Lord said, I was in prison and you came to me (Matthew 25:36). What does this teach us about our attitudes toward those in jails and imprisoned? and Psalm 50 (51) begins, Have mercy on me, O Lord It is considered the psalm of repentance. Discuss how praying this psalm might affect our understanding of repentance, confession, and forgiveness. At the awards luncheon, master of ceremonies Archon Mike Emanuel, chief congressional and senior news correspondent for FOX News spoke of his participation at his parish s oratorical festival many years ago. Metropolitan Gerasimos spoke of how he was moved by the boldness of the speeches, challenging the audience, including the leadership of the Church to listen to the voice of our young people, their concerns, and their ideals for the future. National Oratorical Festival Chairman Presvytera Margaret Orfanakos, invited junior division finalists for the presentation of plaques recognizing their participation in the national festival, and a certificate signed by Archbishop Demetrios and a scholarship from FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism Award. Junior Division The following received honorable mention, and a $500 monetary award (metropolises in parenthesis): Marika Reynolds-Archangel Michael Church, Port Washington, N.Y. (Direct Archdiocesan District); Alexandra Nichols-Annunciation Church, Cranston, R.I (Boston).; Anastasia Therianos-Assumption Cathedral, Denver (Denver); Metropolis of New Jersey: Kyriaki Melizanis-Ascension Church, Fairview, N.J. (New Jersey); Alexander Salem-Annunciation Church, Akron, Ohio (Pittsburgh); Ruth Hailey-St. John the Baptist Church, Beaverton, Oregon (San Francisco). Third place winner, receiving a $1,000 college scholarship: Christian George from St. Nicholas Church, Troy, Mich. (Detroit); Second place and a $1,500 college scholarship: Dennis Polite, St. Andrew Church, Chicago, (Chicago). First place and a $2,000 college scholarship: Sophia Hagen from Sts. Rafael, Nicholas and Irene Church, Cumming, Ga. (Atlanta). Senior Division Honorable mention: Pauline Pedas- St. Sophia Cathedral, Washington, (Direct Archdiocesan District); Nickolas Eliadis- Dormition of the Virgin Mary Church, Somerville, Mass. (Boston); Maria Kardasis- Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Glenview, Ill. (Chicago); Kalliope Elliott-Annunciation Church, Kansas City, Mo. (Denver); Jordan George-St. Nicholas Church, Troy, Mich. (Detroit); Timothy Kaelin-St. George Church, Eugene, Oregon (San Francisco). Third place and a $1,000 college scholarship: Dimitri Godur, St. Sophia Cathedral in Miami, (Atlanta). Second place and a $1,500 college scholarship: Alexandra Birbilis, St. Thomas Church in Cherry Hill, N.J. (New Jersey). First place and a $2,000 college scholarship: Elena Bilotto, Kimisis Tis Theotokou Church, Aliquippa, Pa. (Pittsburgh). After the program, finalists, their families, Metropolitan Gerasimos, Metropolis Chancellor Bishop Apostolos of Medeia, and Fr. Peter, toured Universal Studios. Sunday morning Hierarchical Liturgy featured Metropolitan Gerasimos and Bishop Apostolos as co-celebrants in the absence of Archbishop Demetrios, who flew to Washington for the funeral of Vice President Joe Biden s son. The weekend concluded with the presentations of the two winning speeches before the entire congregation and a lunch with remarks from parish council Vice President John Vidalakis, Metropolitan Gerasimos and other speakers.
5 JULY AUGUST Dimitrios Panagos photo Support for St. Nicholas at WTC Church of Our Saviour in Rye, N.Y., recently presented $65,000 to Archbishop Demetrios for St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine from donations by parishioners. With His Eminence, from left: Michael Psaros, parish council President Rob Augustinos and Fr. Elias Villis, parish priest. Metropolis of Chicago Philoptochos Board Raises Over $20,000 for St. Nicholas Initiative The Agape dinner Relight, Rebuild and Resurrect, to benefit the Philoptochos St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine initiative was sponsored by the Metropolis of Chicago Philoptochos Board on April 23. More than 150 Philoptochos members and guests participated in a fun-filled evening to raise funds for this important cause. Angelo and Juliana Mourelatos, the emcees, entertained the guests during a reverse raffle for which 289 tickets were sold. Along with a delicious dinner, the Metropolis Board and chapter members enticed the guests with delectable homemade sweets. Metropolis board members Pam Argyris, Marilyn Tzakis and Pat Gerbanas Donations (as of June 26) Pledges committed: $34,650,241 Pledges received: $15,508,555 Pledges outstanding: 19,141,685 served as co-chairs of this thoroughly enjoyable event, with all Metropolis board members participating in different capacities as committee members. The highlight of the evening was the announcement that Annunciation Philoptochos chapter of Kankakee, Ill., one of the smallest chapters in the Metropolis, won the $3,000 grand prize, a portion of which the chapter donated back to the event proceeds. The Metropolis hopes the funds will help this small chapter to grow and flourish. The evening was a resounding success, as net profits exceeded $20,000, with everyone in attendance contributing to help Relight, Rebuild and Resurrect St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center. Church Holds Golf Benefit CARMEL, Fla. Holy Trinity Church held a charity golf outing June 22 at Prairie View Golf Club to benefit the reconstruction of St. Nicholas Church at the World Trade Center. Golf for Ground Zero organizers raised more than $8,000 in donations for the new church. It s part of the healing process, Duane Hostetler, a member of the HTGOC golf charity committee said. St. Nicholas, founded in 1916 by Greek immigrants, was the only church destroyed during the 2001 attacks. The movement to restore the church has seen a number of delays over the past decade due to disagreements between Greek Orthodox Church leaders and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the World Trade Center site. When thousands of visitors ascend upon the completed St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine, they will admire its luminescent exterior, take solace in its visitors center and devoutly light their candles in memory of loved ones and others memorialized at the World Trade Center. They will do so in year-round comfort they take for granted in the summer heat and winter cold through the stateof-the-art heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system installed by Peter J. Pappas, of P.J. Mechanical Corp., one of the Archdiocese s most dynamic lay leaders. Pappas is chairman of the board of P.J.M Holdings Group that consists of P.J. Mechanical Corp., and three other related companies. P.J. Mechanical is New York City s largest air conditioning contracting company and ranks among the top 10 nationally. In addition to being the lead benefactor in the establishment of the church and shrine at the World Trade Center, he is committing more than $1 million in HVAC equipment and mechanical work that his company will perform during the church s construction. Pappas has been actively involved with the national Church for many decades, including membership on the Archdiocesan Council for about 30 years, as an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for 20 years and an Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund member, serving on its executive board. His connection to St. Nicholas Church goes back to early childhood. Of Greek and Cypriot background, he was born and raised in Manhattan s West Side and grew up attending St. Eleftherios Church, a few blocks north of St. Nicholas. I visited the church many times as part of my upbringing, Pappas said, especially the Epiphany celebration which was very big. Hundreds of faithful would gather each Jan. 6 for the tossing of the cross into the Hudson River. Later, he attended New York University and studied business and worked at a summer job with an air-conditioning company. I took a leave of absence from NYU and remained with the company PETER J. PAPPAS Orthodox Observer photo P.J. Pappas Efforts Address Shrine Visitors Comfort 10 years, studying all aspects of cooling, heating and design. In 1971, he started his own company, P.J. Mechanical. During this time he also became involved at St. Demetrios Church, then located in Freeport on Long Island. He was active in promoting the construction of a new church when the parish relocated in Merrick in the early 1980s. In addition to his membership at St. Demetrios, he also is a parishioner of St. Paul Cathedral in Hempstead and Church of the Resurrection in Brookville, for which he provided all the HVAC system as well. After the destruction of St. Nicholas Church in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he did not become involved in the lengthy political process that eventually resulted in the approval of the relocation site of the church, but later was named to the committee that selected the building s design. As the process moved forward, Pappas said he realized there was an issue that I could be involved with and offered his expertise needed to resolve a serious issue that existed with building the church that had to do with the mechanical equipment needed for cooling and heating. He felt that the selection of the systems could be improved in terms of getting the most value. He already was familiar with the situation in the area because his company currently is doing work for a variety of clients on the site. Pappas determined that considerable savings could be achieved by connecting the church to the Port Authority s building services, and met with the architect, Santiago Calatrava, and Port Authority officials to persuade them to allow the use of the below-ground connections that serve the entire ground zero site facility. He explained that, by piping chilled water from the underground facility s system, the need for motor-driven compressors is eliminated, resulting in less costly installation and operations and a great reduction in noise that will result in enhancing the area around the church. The HVAC installation will be completed in stages as the construction of the to page 10