NEW YORK — On a glorious Indian Summer day in Lower Manhattan, hundreds of Greek Orthodox Christians joined by dignitaries participated in the ground blessing service for the new St. Nicholas Shrine at Ground Zero presided over by Archbishop Demetrios of America.
The Archbishop shared his thought , on Sept. 12, 2001, he and other pastors “visited the spot where St. Nicholas church had stood since the early 20th Century. The tiny structure had been crushed in the collapse of the twin towers, making it the only church destroyed in the attack,” the AP reported.
“We stood there frozen, paralyzed,” said Archbishop Demetrios. “There was a big hole instead of a church. It left a terrible kind of impression.”
A “38 million domed church designed by famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava intended to serve both as the new home for the Greek Othodox parish and as a national non-denominational shrine for ground zero visitors. The dome made of glass and white marble will be backlit from within so that it glows at night,” the AP noted.
“It will be a refuge for people in need of spiritual comfort regardless of their specific beliefs, or unbeliefs…Above all, this resurrected St. Nicholas church will be a monument declaring the victory of good over evil, of love over hatred,” the Archbishop said.
Present at the noon ceremony on October 18 were Calatrava, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, former Gov. George Pataki, former Mayor David Dinkins and various other government officials from New York and New Jersey.
Pataki was governor at the time of the attack. He noted that the church was an important addition to what has been rebuilt so far. “We had remembrance, we had commerce, but without St. Nicholas, we did not have faith,” he said.