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St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church stood across Liberty Street from the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, USA. It was completely destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks when the South Tower collapsed. It was the only non-WTC building to be immediately destroyed by the attacks.

Two other buildings not part of the complex were also destroyed: the Deutsche Bank Building was damaged beyond repair by the explosions and collapse of 1 and 2 WTC and Borough of Manhattan Community College's Fiterman Hall was damaged beyond repair by the collapse of 7 WTC; these are currently being deconstructed.

Contents

History

The building that came to house the church was built around 1832. In 1916, Greek American immigrants started the congregation of St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and in 1922 started to hold worship services at the Liberty Street location. The church building was only 22 feet (6.7 m) wide, 56 feet (17 m) long, and 35 feet (11 m) tall and was easily dwarfed by the 110 story Twin Towers, which were completed in 1972 and 1973. Despite its small size and unusual location, the church had before the attacks a dedicated congregation of about 70 families led by Father John Romas. On Wednesdays, the building was opened to the public and many people, including office workers from the towers and non-Greek Orthodox, would enter the quiet worship space for contemplation and prayer.

Among the church's most valuable physical possessions were some of the relics (remains) of St Nicholas, St Catherine, and St Sava, which had been donated to the church by Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia. These relics were removed from their safe on holy days for veneration; they were never recovered after the attack.

September 11, 2001

The building was completely buried by the collapse of the South Tower of the WTC. No one was inside when the church was destroyed. Very little of its content was ever recovered. Among what was eventually found were the damaged icons of St. Dionysios of Zakynthos and Zoodochos Pege and a handful of miscellaneous religious items.

A report in a Greek-Orthodox newspaper said that before the South Tower collapsed, part of the airplane's landing gear was seen resting atop the church. Also, body parts were spotted on and around the church before the collapse of the tower, presumably the remains of those who had jumped or fallen from the towers.

The congregation members and Father Romas have temporarily relocated to St. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn.

Future plans

The plans for rebuilding the World Trade Center complex include building a new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church quite close to the original location. The church will again house a worshipping congregation. A museum will also be built for the projected large influx of visitors that will come to the site.

On July 23, 2008, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reached a deal with the leaders of the church for the Port Authority to acquire the 1,200-square-foot (110 m2) lot that the church had occupied for $20 million. $10 million is coming from the Port Authority and $10 million is coming from JPMorgan Chase & Co.[1]

References

  1. ^ Church surrenders ground zero lot - Life - MSNBC.com

External links

Coordinates: 40°42′37″N 74°00′50″W / 40.71028°N 74.01389°W / 40.71028; -74.01389

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