I Have a Gripe

September 20, 2010

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church: Lost in the Ground Zero Religion Debate

There were many souls lost on 9-11 in Shanksville, Washington D.C. and of course New York City. There was another lost, however, that many have forgotten. Or may not have even known existed. Its soul may not have been lost, but it is definitely in purgatory due to no fault of its own.

As of late, the “religion debate” at Ground Zero has centered around a planned, and incredibly controversial, Mosque just steps from where those once great Towers stood. But, even more importantly, nine years later, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church has still not been rebuilt and isn’t even close to it.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was founded in 1916 by Greek immigrants, who dedicated the church to the patron saint of sailors. The Church was located at 155 Cedar St. and was completely destroyed when the Twin Towers fell. Now, that location is part of the construction site to rebuild the World Trade Center, the 9-11 Memorial and all the surrounding work. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey promised they would work to rebuild the church. Nine years later? Nothing.

Since that terrible day, there have been multiple changes of the guard in Albany as well as at the Port Authority. Negotiations to move St. Nicholas to nearby location have gone from slow to non-existent. While Governor Paterson has done little to help facilitate the rebuilding of this historic Church, he was willing to quickly step in to “work to resolve” the controversy of the Ground Zero Mosque, even potentially offering up a city-owned location for the Mosque.

There is rightful outrage, in my opinion, about the Ground Zero Mosque, but I ask where is the outrage that this Church has not been rebuilt?

Many in the mainstream press have all but ignored this story. When it has been covered, it has tried to paint those representing the Church in negotiations with the Port Authority as greedy and unreasonable. In all my research and reading, however, I have not found this to be true. If anything, it has been the Port Authority that has all but commandeered the Church’s original location and stalled and stammered at ever turn. In over a year, the Port Authority has not had negotiations with the Church leaders and have even gone as far as reneging on the alternate location.

I ask that you take up the fight of St. Nicholas Church. This should be rebuilt long before any Mosque steps from hallowed ground. St. Nicholas Church needs to be rebuilt. Without it, the open wounds of 9-11 will never begin to heal.


1 Comment »

  1. Beautifully said. Thank you.

    Comment by Joe_NewYork — October 2, 2010 @ 3:45 pm | Reply

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