Saint Spyridon Church contains some of the finest examples of Byzantine style iconography and traditional interiors in the United States. Since the days of Constantine the Great, the Orthodox Church has been known for her rich houses of worship, steeped in iconography and other forms of art, each contributing to make the church a representation of heaven on earth. Saint Spyridon Church is a fitting tribute, in this respect, to the glory of God and Orthodoxy.
When the current church was built in the early 1950s, Saint Spyridon's two great benefactors - Constantine Goulandris and Theodore Tsolainos - traveled to Greece to search for the finest artists and materials. Along with other members of the community, they spared no expense in building their new church. For example, marble from the quarry of Penteli, Greece was imported to line the aisles of the church. Four giant chandeliers hang in the nave, creating a warm atmosphere even for a church that can seat nearly 1,000 faithful.
But what truly makes Saint Spyridon Church unique is its incredible iconography, painted by some of the most famous and talented artists.
In 1951, Geiorgios Gliatas, a student of Fotis Kontoglou (www.kontoglou.gr), was commissioned as the iconographer of the church. In order to complete the work as scheduled, Gliatas enlisted the help of Constantine Yioussis, an accomplished iconographer and parishioner of Saint Spyridon. All the fresco work in the church, including the magnificent Pantokrator and Platytera, are the original work of this team. (In subsequent years, the community developed one of the largest collections of individual icons painted by Mr. Yioussis.)
The icons which line the side aisles of the church are the work of Gliatas, some of them completed in Athens and shipped to the United States. The work of other famous iconographers and artists adorn the church, including Nicholas Stratoulis, Demetrius Pelekasis and Nicholas Engonopoulos (www.engonopoulos.gr). Engonopoulos was a famous contemporary Greek artist. The series depicting the life of Christ on the iconostasis, is the only Byzantine work he has ever done.
The iconostasis, as well as the pulpit, Bishops Throne and narthex pieces, were hand-carved in Athens by master carver Theophonis Nomikos.
The community of Saint Spyridon takes great pride in the work of the talented people who contributed to the great beauty of this church. Through the work of their hands, we are transported into the divine liturgical worship of our church in a uniquely Byzantine manner. It is with this in-mind - offering a unique Orthodox liturgucal experience - that the community has undertaken the complete restoration of these priceless works.
ST. SPYRIDON GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
124 Wadsworth Avenue
New York, NY 10033
Phone: (212) 795-5870
Fax: (212) 795-4758
Rev. Nicolas Kazarian