Ecumenical Patriarch Barthlomew at Ground Zero for the inauguration of St. Nicholas Church (VIDEO)

Ecumenical Patriarch Barthlomew yesterday led a blessing ceremony for the dedication of the reconstructed St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at Ground Zero in New York City.

The Patriarch was accompanied by Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, and was greeted by an honor guard of Greek-Americans who serve in the New York Coast Guard and Police. The ceremony also brought together distinguished members of the Greek-American community, American politicians and relatives of the victims of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

During the moving ceremony at the Ground Zero site, the Patriarch blessed religious artifacts that were recovered from the original ruined church.

The patriarchal mission also brought a relic of Saint Nicholas from Mount Athos in Greece, which was placed by the patriarch in the center of the high altar inside the church. Additionally, Bartholomew took off the clothes he was wearing, signed them, and donated them to the church.

St. Nicholas Church and National Shrine, named after the patron saint of sailors, began its services in 1922 and was an important symbolic point of reference for Greek migrants who, at the turn of the 20th century, arrived at Ellis Island, the United States Migrant Reception Center. .

The new church was designed by famous architect Santiago Calatrava and is located next to Liberty Park, near the 9/11 monument and museum. Its renovation cost $ 85 million, mostly from donations.

As well as being a central Greek Orthodox church in New York City, St. Nicholas is the only religious temple near One World Trade Center and will be open to people of all faiths and sects. Its construction and characteristics make it the second church after the Washington National Cathedral to function as a national shrine in the United States.

Saint Nicholas Church will open for services next week.


St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, officially St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine, is a church and shrine under construction in the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York. It is administered by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and is developed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, based on a design by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The church is expected to be completed in April 2022, coinciding with Orthodox Holy Week, and will be consecrated on July 4, 2022.

St. Nicholas will replace the original church of the same name that was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks, the only place of worship and the only building outside the original World Trade Center complex to be completely destroy.[4][note 1] The new church is located in Liberty Park, overlooking the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Its architecture is inspired by Byzantine influences, namely the Church of the Savior and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, as well as the Parthenon in Athens.[5][6] In addition to serving as a Greek Orthodox parish, St. Nicholas is officially designed as a “House of Prayer for All Peoples” which will function as a national shrine and community center, integrating a secular mourning space, social hall and various programs. educational and interfaith programs.

Originally slated to open in 2016, efforts to rebuild St. Nicholas have been hampered by delays, cost overruns and allegations of financial irregularities. In 2019, the Friends of St. Nicholas nonprofit was founded to help carry out the project, which continued under the auspices of newly elected Archbishop Elpidophoros. The church was partially opened for a memorial service commemorating the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Greek immigrants founded the congregation of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas in 1916. Parishioners first worshiped in the dining hall of a hotel on Morris Street owned by Stamatis Kalamarides. In 1919, five families raised $ 25,000 to purchase a new site for the church, a three-story tavern at 155 Cedar Street, originally built in the 1830s as a private home. The modest structure was converted into a church and provided with a fourth floor, hosting religious services in 1922.

Saint Nicholas was only 6.7 m wide, 17 m long and 11 m high. It was originally an old calendar church, but in 1993 it began to hold services on Wednesdays according to the Gregorian calendar. It stood out for its small size, unusual location, and juxtaposition with the large modern skyscrapers in the area – all other adjacent buildings had been demolished, leaving the church surrounded on three sides by a parking lot.

Before the attacks, the church had a dedicated congregation of about 70 families headed by Father John Romas. On Wednesdays, the building was open to the public, often receiving visitors who were not Greek Orthodox; in addition to local residents and Greek immigrants, St. Nicholas drew Greek shipping magnates passing through New York.
(Source: Wiki)

Key words:
Archbishop Elpidophoros, Ellis Island, Greece, Greek, Greek American, Greek News, Ground Zero, New York, News, Patriarch Barthlomew, United States

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