Greek Orthodox Church at Ground Zero

American Jewish Committee (AJC) has expressed its satisfaction on the news that the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, destroyed on September 11, 2001, finally will be rebuilt.

“This is heartening news for the Greek Orthodox community, indeed for all New Yorkers,” said AJC executive director David Harris.

Shortly after the terror attacks, AJC leaders met with Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, and delivered a donation from AJC’s relief funds to rebuild.

“This gesture is a treasure, a movement of the heart,” Archbishop Demetrios said at the time.

Last year, after President Barack Obama’s reported remarks on the proposed construction of a mosque near the site of the former World Trade Center, Greek Americans had demanded the rebuilding of the church destroyed at Ground Zero in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

The association for the nation’s three million American citizens of Greek heritage, including a number of Philhellenes, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) had come out with this demand, (Read: After Mosque, Demand for Ground Zero Church)

“The long wait no doubt has been enormously frustrating and painful for the congregation,” said Harris.

“Now that the Ground Zero memorial has been dedicated and construction of new buildings around the site continues, the new St. Nicholas will be an inspiring addition to New York City,” Harris continued. “And for us at AJC, it is also another way of affirming the core principles of our common humanity and mutual respect that have guided us for 105 years.”

The original St. Nicholas church, built in 1916, stood at 155 Cedar Street and was buried under the rubble of the World Trade Center. It was the only religious building completely destroyed in the terror attacks.

An agreement on rebuilding was announced Friday, Oct. 14, by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Construction is expected to begin in 2013. The new church, at 130 Liberty Street, will be three times lager than the original structure, AJC said in a statement.

Photo courtesy: AHEPA

RMN News

Rakesh Raman