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Saint Nicholas Church in Manhattan was the only house of worship destroyed during the horrifying terrorist attack at Ground Zero on September 11, 2011. The Church became an instantly recognizable place of prayer and worship of thousands of pilgrims and visitors; its historical value for the first Greeks who came to New York City and the sentimental value for the families of the thousands of victims of the atrocious attacks on 9/11 are undeniable. Yet, this sacred place of worship was destroyed and, despite all the efforts of the Archdiocese, the Port Authority has raised obstacles towards its timely rebuilding. The Archdiocese, left with no other alternative, was forced to take this case to court, so that justice can prevail and the Parish can regain its property. This is of paramount significance as thousands of faithful express interest regarding this matter and wish to venerate the holy icons that miraculously were left unharmed after the destruction of the Twin Towers and the devastating results of the fire and the extremely high temperatures. Many people wish to find in Saint Nicholas a place of spiritual strengthening and comfort. In light of the event that a Muslim place of worship operates in the vicinity, it is only proper and fair that Saint Nicholas is granted its original status and a property that was sustained through the efforts of many generations of faithful for decades and was demolished in a catastrophic event. In the News and Updates column, please, read the Press Release of our Archdiocesan Press Office and we will keep you informed on the progress of this significant issue.

Saint Nicholas Church in Manhattan was the only house of worship destroyed during the horrifying terrorist attack at Ground Zero on September 11, 2011. The Church became an instantly recognizable place of prayer and worship of thousands of pilgrims and visitors; its historical value for the first Greeks who came to New York City and the sentimental value for the families of the thousands of victims of the atrocious attacks on 9/11 are undeniable. Yet, this sacred place of worship was destroyed and, despite all the efforts of the Archdiocese, the Port Authority has raised obstacles towards its timely rebuilding. The Archdiocese, left with no other alternative, was forced to take this case to court, so that justice can prevail and the Parish can regain its property. This is of paramount significance as thousands of faithful express interest regarding this matter and wish to venerate the holy icons that miraculously were left unharmed after the destruction of the Twin Towers and the devastating results of the fire and the extremely high temperatures. Many people wish to find in Saint Nicholas a place of spiritual strengthening and comfort. In light of the event that a Muslim place of worship operates in the vicinity, it is only proper and fair that Saint Nicholas is granted its original status and a property that was sustained through the efforts of many generations of faithful for decades and was demolished in a catastrophic event.

St. Nicholas Church as it stood, prior to 9/11

GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA
8-10 East 79th St. New York, NY 10075-0106 * Tel: (212) 570-3530 Fax: (212) 774-0237
www.goarch.org - Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact: PRESS OFFICE
Stavros Papagermanos
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(212) 570-3530

STATEMENT OF THE GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA
AND ST. NICHOLAS CHURCH, ANNOUNCING FEDERAL SUIT AGAINST
THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY


NEW YORK – On February 14, 2011, St. Nicholas Church and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Manhattan against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as well as other agencies and individuals, in order to foster the rebuilding at Ground Zero of the only house of worship destroyed by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The Parish and the Archdiocese would have preferred to rebuild the Church without litigation. However, they have been unable to do so since the Port Authority renounced a long-standing agreement with the Church to rebuild at Ground Zero, seized the Church’s land, barred the Church from access to it, and has refused to talk or meet with the Church or the Archdiocese. This legal action has been taken not only as a last resort to restore the property and rebuilding rights of St. Nicholas Church, but also to fulfill the common vision of civil and church authorities that the Church be rebuilt as a place of prayer and meditation at Ground Zero for all people.

While the Port Authority has claimed publicly that it is currently in discussions with the Archdiocese in order to foster the rebuilding effort, in fact, in March of 2009 it summarily disavowed its agreement with the Archdiocese to rebuild St. Nicholas at 130 Liberty Street, a site chosen by the Port Authority, which is adjacent to the original location. Since that time, the Port Authority has rebuffed all efforts by the Church to work with it regarding the rebuilding.

Contrary to working cooperatively with the Archdiocese and the Parish, a posture which had prevailed between 9/11 and the Port Authority’s abrupt turnabout in March 2009, the Port Authority—without permission, notice, or any legal justification whatsoever—has sent its bulldozers onto both the land still owned by the Church at its original site at 155 Cedar Street, and the land provided to the Church at 130 Liberty Street pursuant to its agreement with the Port Authority. The Port Authority has conducted extensive excavation and other construction work that has kept the Church off of its own property, and has rendered both sites unbuildable by the Church without substantial remedial work.

The Parish and the Archdiocese hope that through this lawsuit, just and fair rulings will be made allowing for the prompt re-construction of St. Nicholas at Ground Zero, not only as a church serving its flock, but also as a greater ministry bringing peace, reconciliation and a sacred space of recollection and remembrance for all people visiting Ground Zero.

CONTACT: Fr. Mark Arey (212) 570-3593 or Mark Cunha, Attorney for the Church (212) 455-3475