St.

Nicholas Restoration
Bringing the Stars Back to a Historic Missouri Landmark

About this book
Creating Sacred Space is a tradition in Byzantine Thought, architecture an art. This book documents the creative process behind the 2009 restoration of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Designed and rendered by artist Rip Kastaris and his assistants, It was a personal vision of the heavens, created for an entire community of faithful. Collectively the community chose to restore their sanctuary and in the process their spiritual and cultural heritage.

A Bit of Church History
St. Nicholas Church was erected in 1930 and a work in progress until 1949 when artisans finally finished all the interior decor. The work was divided into two major categories: Renaissance style iconography and leaded glass windows seen throughout the sanctuary. In 1959 a two year expansion added a community center and increased the size of the church by thirty percent. The two story addition to the front of the church provided a narthex and a choir loft overlooking the sanctuary. During the expansion the planners decided to paint out the blue sky and stars chosen by the original architect and iconographer. They chose flat cream and gold tones designed to divide the vaulted ceiling into multiple panels. Over the years the signs of age crept in as the frescos cracked and wallpaper peeled away the original beauty.

While plans for a new suburban Family Life Center were drawn. The work went beyond mere restoration. colors. Bringing back the stars was only a small part of the atmosphere. creating a new presentation of the heavens right here on earth. assisted by George Gleoumas and a small staff. transformed the church. In 2009 artist Euripides “Rip” Kastaris. . Nicholas Restoration In 2007 an effort began to restore the church as part of a two campus expansion. textures and lighting that were enhanced.2009 St. a simultaneous restoration plan was envisioned to bring the historic St. Nicholas sanctuary back to its original glory.

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Having actual marble dust and lime powder in the plaster allows for artists to create a stone finish. a unique texture is established that becomes the base. . Paining soft streams of color and tone was then applied to create a rich stone finish thorough out.Red Earth and Blue Sky Venetian plaster was chosen for the surrounding walls of the narthex and sanctuary as well as the choir loft. By drag-trowing multiple applications of thin plaster coats.

Creative Director and Artist for the project. Rip Kastaris. . shown here layering tones of transparent color over the plaster previously applied.

was completely transformed by the new colors and textures.The Narthex. shown from several views. .

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. the base painter and engineer for the project is applying gold leaf through stencils to the side isles on the east and west wings of the sanctuary. This is the day of heaven. The four pointed stars were based on the cruciform to represent Christ and the eight pointed stars represent the “eighth day” or the day outside of normal time. Byzantine monasteries and churches thorough out the world often employ this eight pointed design in their ceilings and lofty domes. untouched by the chronic tic of the clock or changes in the seasons. A unique pattern of stars was established for each area of the restoration. made up of 4 and eight pointed stars.First Lights George Gleoumas.

George Gleoumas applying an eight pointed star with gold leaf in the west side isle of the sanctuary. .

Here George Gleoumas applies the guidelines high above the choir loft that will define the area of a mosaic border and constellation of various sized stars. .Celestial Circles The vaulted ceilings were challenging to fit designs into because they were so high up and bowed slightly on two ends. The large medallion-like design was made of over thirty pieces that all came together as a focal point in the south ceiling of the sanctuary. The artists had to compensate by adding incremental lengths of canvas and hard board to make large designs fit properly.

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.Above Rip Kastaris prepares the central star while Ben Shassere works on scaffolding to install pieces.

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Painting the Sky Soft cloud formations were pained through out the ceilings. Here we see artist Rip Kastaris brushing cool tones and colors high above the sanctuary floor. .

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In theRealm of Angels Slowly the transformation of the sky began to take shape. Now the sense of the heavens enveloped the choir loft. Now the choir would really feel the glory of singing high into the south end of thee . seen here being sprayed by the artist.

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.Help from Little Angels The Sunday School children applied gold leaf to canvas stars in class and were then encouraged to write the names of family loved ones on the back of the canvas. This was a wonderful experience and will be a memory the kids will have forever.

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Some day they will tell their own children about the 2009 Restoration that included their family names and handy work. Doug Papulis blessed the kids and their works of wonder. . Everyone who made a star also wrote names on the back to be blessed by Fr.Children from pre school age through fifth grade made stars along with their teachers.

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com/ripkastaris .mac.Euripides Kastaris Iconography gallery.