Construction resumes at Greek Orthodox Church at 2001 terrorist attack site

work at church
Images from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office via Flickr

Construction has resumed of the Greek Orthodox church that had been the only house of worship destroyed by the 2001 terrorist attack in New York City. Work of the long-delayed project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2021.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine was severely damaged during the terror attacks at the World trade Center’s twin towers. Since then, the church has struggled to rebuild.

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On Aug. 3. Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined Archbishop Elpidophoros (Lambriniadis), the head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, to announce the return of construction on the church building after financial struggles and other issues delayed the project for years.

“We are going to build back the way we built back from 9/11, and it will be better and stronger with more solidarity and more faith and more spirit of community than ever before,”Cuomo said. “We have gone through difficult times together, but we rise from the ashes and we rise stronger than ever before. That’s what this St. Nicholas will stand for. It is a powerful message to all New Yorkers and all Americans.”

The archbishop blessed construction workers at the site, praying that God will “protect the workers who have returned to this holy place to rebuild in safety and peace.”

“Guide their hands aright, shield their eyes from harm, grant unto them and all who contribute to this Holy Work every blessing of body and soul,” he said.

The work has been delayed over a diversity of challenges, including financing and questions about where the new church building would be located.

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The Greek Orthodox Church sued the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey over issues about the location, claiming in port that officials “rebuffed all efforts by the Church to work with it regarding the rebuilding.” The church claimed that the Port Authority broke a 2008 promise to rebuild the building down the road from its old site and also claimed that the Port Authority excavated church property without permission.

In 2011, the Archdiocese and the Port Authority reached an agreement to rebuild the structure at 130 Liberty Street, which would include a nondenominational bereavement center, The Christian Post reported.

Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said in a statement Monday that the resumption of construction on the church on Aug. 3 marked “a new chapter in the historic rebuild of Lower Manhattan.

Financial issues also have challenged the project, with construction halted previously in December 2017 as the projected reconstruction costs ended up being millions of dollars more than previously estimated.

A recent fundraising effort by The Friends of St. Nicholas, a group formed to oversee the project, successfully raised the $45 million needed to complete the construction, The New York Post reported last month.


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