The St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine hosted the 40th Anniversary Celebration exhibit thanks to a grant from the The Kathie D’Anna Charitable Fund.
This unique Exhibit, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first National Shrine of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, commenced February 27, 2022 will remain open to the public until February 27, 2023.
In conjunction with this exhibit, the St. Photios National Shrine has produced a 10-minute documentary specifically showcasing the 40 year history of the Shrine. Played continuously at the Shrine’s exhibit in honor of 40th Anniversary housed in St. Augustine, Florida, may also be viewed on the St. Photios Facebook Page at https://fb.watch/c4B0QXFjyE/
Archbishop Iakovos of blessed memory presided over the dedication on February 27, 1982, stating, “This Shrine is dedicated to those who came here 414 years ago in search of freedom and to escape the most barbaric oppression, and for the contribution they made to our country.” His Eminence, before entering the Shrine, unveiled a plaque that pays tribute to the first colony of Greek refugees who worshiped here in 1777.
In 1768 nearly 500 Greeks with 900 others of Mediterranean descent left their homelands and established the New Smyrna Colony in hopes of a better life. Just a little over 400 of these indentured servants survived after a decade of brutal treatment that followed.
They escaped to St. Augustine, America’s oldest city, and it was here, in the Avero House which is the current site of the Shrine, that they found refuge.
MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH THE GENEROSITY OF THE TOUNDAS FAMILY
“THE LAST BYSANTINE EMPEROR
Constantine XI Palaiologos”
21 Contestant Submissions
In conjunction with the annual commemoration of the Fall of Constantinople, the Saint Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine is proud to display the entrants’ submissions to the Second Annual Drawing Competition open to children ages 9-12 of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Besieged by the Ottomans, Constantinople and a few remaining lands of the Roman (Byzantine) Empire was led by the Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos, successor to the founder of the capital over a thousand years earlier, Emperor and Saint Constantine the Great. With the breach of the city walls that had protected the city for over a millennium, the Emperor and defenders consisting of Greeks, Genoans and others were finally vanquished.
Participants submitted drawings of the last Byzantine Emperor, successor not only to the great saint whose name he bore, but also to the final dynasty of emperors who, even as their Empire was slowly declining, oversaw a resurgence in ecclesiastical art and theology.
The annual commemoration of the Fall of Constantinople is not only a remembrance of the Fall of the capital of the Roman Empire on May 29, 1453 by the Ottomans who finally took the “Queen of Cities” established by Saint Constantine the Great some eleven centuries earlier; rather, it is also a celebration of Byzantine culture and the Hellenic culture that sprang from this pivotal event in world history.