Once upon a time, in the early 19th century, the people of Greece were filled with a burning desire for freedom and independence. The year was 1821, and the Greek revolutionary heroes, led by fearless patriots such as Theodoros Kolokotronis, Alexandros Mavrokordatos, and Laskarina Bouboulina, were preparing to fight for their country’s liberation from the oppressive rule of the Ottoman Empire.

On March 25, 1821, the Greek Orthodox Bishop of Patras, Germanos, raised the Greek flag at the Monastery of Agia Lavra, signaling the beginning of their march to freedom. This act of defiance would spark a revolution that ultimately led to the birth of an independent Greek nation.

Fast forward to the early 20th century in Lower Manhattan, where a group of Greek immigrants had established the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in 1916. This community, which would later play a crucial role in the lives of many Greek Americans, held a deep connection to their homeland’s heroes and their shared fight for independence.

And so it was in April 2023, the present-day Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America leads a massive march for the anniversary of Greek Independence. The procession starts from the new St. Nicholas Church at the World Trade Center, making its way down Lower Broadway, past Morris Street, where the original St. Nicholas Church once stood.

As the Archbishop marches, he enters a trance-like state, and an epiphany strikes him. The Greek heroes of 1821 and the founding members of the St. Nicholas Church in Lower Manhattan appear to him, filling both sides of Broadway. They are all waving Greek and American flags, chanting in unison, “Two flag poles for St. Nicholas!”

The Archbishop continues marching to Bowling Green Park, with the miraculous vision fading once he arrives. He addresses the gathered crowd of Greek-Americans, recounting the extraordinary experience he has just had.

“I now finally realize there must be two large flag poles standing outside St. Nicholas, flying the Greek and American flags for all time, for as long as the new St. Nicholas stands and there are Greek-Americans walking the Earth,” he proclaims to the crowd.

The Archbishop pledges before the audience, the heroes of 1821, and the Greek immigrants who created St. Nicholas Church, that he will ensure the installation of two flag poles at St. Nicholas by the first anniversary of the day he consecrated the new church on July 4th of the previous year.

“I swear to you, before God, it will happen. July 4, 2023, will be an incredible day to long remember, as we dedicate the two new flag poles at St. Nicholas and raise the Greek and American flags to fly at St. Nicholas that day and forevermore,” the Archbishop declares.

With the combined spirit of the Greek heroes of 1821 and the unwavering dedication of the Greek American community, the Archbishop’s promise is fulfilled. On July 4, 2023, the two flag poles are unveiled and the Greek and American flags proudly soar at St. Nicholas, symbolizing the unity and perseverance of the Greek-American people and honoring their shared history of the pursuit of freedom and independence.

Word of the Archbishop’s decision in favor of the two flag poles quickly reached the Greek community in Greece and around the world to jubilation. This wonderful story soon became legendary. The Archbishop’s office was flooded with appreciation from the most famous and all Greeks and many others who were not Greek, and the Archbishop became an international celebrity like no other before him ever did. Some began calling him Saint Elpidophoros !! Amen…


    • Zoey – it’s just a wish from Mr. Piccolo, who is the chairman of the Bowing Green Association for decades, that the Archbishop will have this Epiphany!!

  1. It’s amazing that he has had this epiphany about a simple flag yet he can’t seem to have this same epiphany about the Orthodox Faith

      • Indeed he does Nick, the question is, will he have them?

        With the EP Synod seeming like they are going to concentrate all power under the Archbishop with the new charter, we should hope that he has these “epiphanies” soon. The only thing keeping the GOA semi-normal now is the level of autonomy it has from the Archbishop and patriarch. If power is concentrated in those individuals, well, that may be the death knell, especially with Emmanuel at the helm of the charter committee.


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