August 24, 2010

Press Conference for the Rebuilding of Ground Zero Church

August 23, 2010


NEW YORK – As the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks approaches there is a ground-swell of public support for the re-building of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church which was destroyed under the rubble of the fallen south tower on September 11, 2001 and a renewed and increasing media interest. Former Governor of New York George Pataki had from the very beginning committed his support for the re-building of St. Nicholas, in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.

Today, representing His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, the Chancellor of the Archdiocese, joined former Governor Pataki and George Demos, candidate for U.S. Congress, in a press conference held at Ground Zero about the re-building of St. Nicholas and the stalled negotiations with the Port Authority.

Governor Pataki called upon the Port Authority to resume negotiations with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese immediately, so the re-building process at 130 Liberty Street, the site that the Port Authority had promised all along, can start as soon as possible.

Archbishop Demetrios of America, who is on a trip visiting the island of Imvros with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, issued the following statement:


I take this opportunity to convey my heartfelt appreciation to former Governor George Pataki for his initiative this afternoon to address the concerns of not only our own community but also citizens across our nation and the world regarding the

rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church. Very soon after 9/11, the Governor expressed his commitment that this church would be rebuilt and this gathering manifests yet again that he is an honorable person who stands by his word. We are encouraged and deeply touched by this.

As it is well known, on September 11, 2001 our city and nation suffered a terrorist attack of unparalleled proportions. In addition to the tragic and horrific loss of almost 3,000 innocent victims, a number of whom were members of our own community, the world witnessed the unimaginable collapse of the Twin Towers. When the second Tower fell, it landed on and erased all traces of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas, the only house of worship destroyed that day. Opened in 1916 by a group of Greek immigrants, the church not only served the spiritual needs of its parishioners but was also a sacred space in which people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds working in the surrounding area would often stop, light a candle and spend a few moments in prayer and reflection.

The Archdiocese and parish leadership of St. Nicholas remain firmly committed to the rebuilding of the church at 130 Liberty Street, honoring the long-standing agreement with the LMDC and the Port Authority. We believe and affirm that the new Church of St. Nicholas will have a far greater scope and outreach than a parish house of worship and envision the site as an appropriate memorial to the 3,000 innocent people of all Faiths who lost their lives that day. Trusting in Almighty God, we are hopeful that we will be successful in this sacred endeavor especially with the assistance and support of people such as our dear friend, Governor Pataki.

I convey my warmest paternal greetings and best wishes and invoke upon all of you the abundant blessings of the Almighty.

Archbishop Demetrios of America