Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Decision Not to Rebuild Church Destroyed on 9/11 Surprises Greek Orthodox Leaders

Greek Orthodox leaders trying to rebuild the only church destroyed in the Sept. 11 terror attacks expressed shock this week after learning, via Fox News, that government officials had killed a deal to relocate the church. 

The St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, once a tiny, four-story building in the shadows of lower Manhattan, was destroyed in 2001 by one of the falling World Trade Center towers. Nobody from the church was hurt in the attack, but the congregation has, for the past eight years, been trying to rebuild its house of worship. 

Though talks between the church and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey stalled last year, church leaders say they've been trying to kick-start discussions ever since. But amid debate over whether a proposed Islamic community center should go forward near Ground Zero, government officials threw cold water on the prospect of any deal with the church -- telling Fox News the deal is off the table. 

Confronted with the Port Authority's verdict, Father Mark Arey, of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, said it's the first he's heard that.

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