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Agreement Reached to Rebuild Greek Orthodox Church Destroyed on 9/11

Agreement Reached to Rebuild Greek Orthodox Church Destroyed on 9/11

St. Nicholas Church, destroyed 10 years ago in the Sept. 11 attacks, will be rebuilt near the original site in Manhattan, according to an agreement signed Friday.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey agreed to have the church rebuilt at 130 Liberty Street. The construction will also include a nondenominational bereavement center.

"We lost St. Nicholas Church in the destruction of September 11 and for too long its future has been uncertain," said N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a statement Friday.

"Rebuilding St. Nicholas Church, with a nondenominational bereavement center, is not just good news for the Greek Orthodox community, but for all New Yorkers. With this agreement, we are continuing New York's collective healing, restoration, and resurgence. Now we are finally returning this treasured place of reflection to where it belongs."

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is elated over the agreement and expressed gratitude "that St. Nicholas Church has finally found its place, after 10 years of waiting, in the new reality of Ground Zero," according to a released statement.

St. Nicholas Church was founded by Greek immigrants in 1916. The building that was destroyed in 2001 when terrorists crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center – which was located across the street from the church – was an early 19th century building.

The church had deemed itself as "a landmark church that was a spiritual refuge for everyone from Greek sailors to Wall Street traders."

Before Friday's agreement, there had been little progress on the reconstruction plans for the church, which measured 35 feet tall, 22 feet wide and 56 feet long.

The Greek Orthodox church filed a lawsuit early this year, claiming that the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey "disavowed" the agreement in 2009 to rebuild the church near the original location at 155 Cedar Street.

The church also claimed the Port Authority then "rebuffed all efforts by the Church to work with it regarding the rebuilding."

The Port Authority, meanwhile, claimed that demands of the church went "over and above" the original stipulation in 2008. "The Port Authority had to make a practical decision to move on or risk further delaying the entire World Trade Center project, which was a completely unacceptable alternative."

Under the new agreement, St. Nicholas Church will be built with minor modifications to the original plan and no impact on the World Trade Center construction schedule.


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