A new church on the World Trade Center site in New York has been reopened after being destroyed in the Twin Towers attacks in 2001.
The St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine held its inaugural liturgy service on December 6 as it officially opens to the public. Pilgrims of all faiths who want to honor those who perished on 9/11 are welcome to visit the church, reports Greek City Times.
St. Nicholas a shining light in the hill for all those people looking for hope and aspiration. —Rev. Alexander Karloutsos, a Protopresbyter in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
“Today is a joyous day for America and for New York,” said Michael Psaros, chair of Friends of St. Nicholas, the group that headed the fundraising for the church. “We invite all of America to please come visit, to come to the cenotaph that was created and built in memory of 3,000 people who were martyred and murdered on Sept. 11.”
Construction of the new church started in 2014, but financial difficulties postponed the development of the project until it was resumed in 2020.
The St. Nicholas newsletter issued in November reads: “The fully functioning Parish will not only bear witness to our Faith and Traditions, but as the National Shrine provides a vital service of religious presence and intercessory reconciliation at Ground Zero. Where so much destruction was wrought out of hatred, Saint Nicholas will be a sacred place of faith, hope, and love for all people who pass through its doors.”
Presiding priest, Father Andreas Vithoulkas said, “It means so much. It’s such a source of pride and joy for the Greek Orthodox being able to once again have this jewel box built here at Ground Zero in the middle of The World Trade Center.”
The national shrine was designed by world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava and sits atop Liberty Park overlooking the Memorial Pools and the 9/11 Museum, reports Premiere Christian News. St. Nicholas Church is located about 7.5 meters above street level and serves as a spiritual beacon of hope for church members and visitors. The building has an intricate lighting design that allows the shrine to look like a solid stone by day and then ‘by the light of 10,000 candles’ at night.
According to Rev. Alexander Karloutsos, a Protopresbyter in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the St. Nicholas Church symbolizes “reconciliation, forgiveness…is about hope and is our aspiration for human dignity.”
“It glows amid the great, big skyscrapers, she looked like a beautiful bride and she is. And St. Nicholas a shining light on the hill for all those people looking for hope and aspiration,”