Voices from Russia

Friday, 31 October 2014

Work Starts on Ground Zero Church Destroyed in 9/11 Attacks

00.0g 9.11 Remembered. World Trade Center. 12.09.12


St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in lower Manhattan, destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will reopen in 2016. Church and political leaders broke ground on the new building two weeks ago, which will stand on the corner of Liberty and Greenwich streets. Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, Exarch of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and First Hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOAA), recalled walking through the church site 13 years ago, after it was destroyed by rubble from the fallen towers. According to the HuffPo, he said during the groundbreaking ceremony, “We remember this very place filled with ruins, hiding under piles of debris, the pulverised remains of 3,000 innocent victims. Breathing a very heavy air, saturated with the dust of storm, wood, iron and with tiny particles of human bodies, we remember walking with heavy hearts to the specific place where our St Nicholas stood as a building. …The church wasn’t there. We stood there frozen, paralysed, and cried”.

The new church will be a 4,100-square-foot (380 square metres) domed building that can fit about 150 people… about twice the capacity of the old church. The space will also include a nonsectarian meditation area. Archbishop Demetrios said, “It’ll be a refuge for people in need of spiritual comfort, regardless of their specific beliefs or unbeliefs”. Former New York Governor George Pataki described the significance of rebuilding St Nicholas, “We had remembrance, we had commerce, but without St Nicholas, we didn’t have faith. Well, now, today, we have remembrance, we have commerce, we have that rock, we have faith, right here at St Nicholas. It was the Greek city-states that gave us our belief today in freedom. It’ll now be the Greek Orthodox Church that’s the rock of faith that anchors all that is done here at Ground Zero”.

St Nicholas raised 7 million USD (295 million Roubles. 43 million Renminbi. 430 million INR. 7.85 million CAD. 7.95 million AUD. 5.6 million Euros. 4.4 million UK Pounds) of the 38 million USD (1.6 billion Roubles. 233 million Renminbi. 2.33 billion INR. 42.6 million CAD. 43.2 million AUD. 30.3 million Euros. 23.8 million UK Pounds) needed to rebuild the church. You can make donations towards the rebuilding at the GOAA website.

30 October 2014

Christian Today



Sunday, 19 October 2014

Site for New Greek Orthodox Church Near WTC Site Blessed by Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis

00 Architectural Rendering. St Nicholas Greek Orthodox. NYC. 31.10.13


On Saturday, hundreds of New York City’s Greek Orthodox Christians attended a blessing for a new church site near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, to replace St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, destroyed in the 9/11 terror attacks. In remarks at the site, Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, the First Hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOAA), recalled his dismay when, on 12 September 2001, he and other clergy visited the spot where St Nicholas church stood since the early 20th Century. The collapse of the Twin Towers crushed the tiny structure, making it the only church destroyed in the attack. Archbishop Demetrios said, “We stood there frozen, paralysed. There was a big hole instead of a church. It left a terrible kind of impression”.

More than 13 years later, work started on a larger 38 million USD (1.55 billion Roubles. 233 million Renminbi. 2.34 billion INR. 42.9 million CAD. 43.5 million AUD. 29.8 million Euros. 23.6 million UK Pounds) domed church designed by famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava intended to serve both as a new home for the Greek Orthodox 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. Archbishop Demetrios said, “It’ll 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”. Those in attendance included Calatrava, US Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), former NY State Governor George Pataki, former NYC Mayor David Dinkins, and various other New York and New Jersey politicians. Pataki, who was governor at the time of the attack, said the church was an important addition to the memorials and skyscrapers that rose in recent years at the WTC noting, “We had remembrance, we had commerce, but without St Nicholas, we didn’t have faith”.

Greek immigrants founded the original church in 1916 and began services at its 1,200-square-foot (112 square metres) site on Cedar Street in 1922. After its destruction, a legal dispute between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the GOAA over the original site delayed rebuilding. In 2011, the parties struck a deal in which the church agreed to exchange land on Cedar Street for the rights to another parcel on Liberty Street, just south of the National September 11 Memorial Museum. Calatrava also conceived the Port Authority 4 billion USD (163 billion Roubles. 24.5 billion Renminbi. 246 billion INR. 4.51 billion CAD. 4.57 billion AUD. 3.14 billion Euros. 2.5 billion UK Pounds) WTC transportation hub. The church chose him for the project after he submitted a plan that drew inspiration from two New Roman shrines in Constantinople (now Istanbul)… Hagia Sophia and the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora. Church officials said that donations from around the world funded construction, including 260,000 USD (10.6 billion Roubles. 1.6 million Renminbi. 16 million INR. 293,000 CAD. 297,000 AUD. 204,000 Euros. 162,000 UK Pounds) from the Greek government. They expect the shrine to open within the next two years.

18 October 2014

Tom Hays

Associated Press



Thursday, 11 September 2014

11 September 2014. Stop and Remember… the Dead of 9/11… the Dead of Beslan… Lest We Forget…

00.0b 9.11 Remembered. World Trade Center. 12.09.12


00.0e 9.11 Remembered. World Trade Center. 12.09.12


00.0g 9.11 Remembered. World Trade Center. 12.09.12


00 In Honour of Beslan. jfkpaint. 2008


00.01g 04.09.12 From Moscow to Beslan


01 Alan Kornaev and Zaurbek Dzanagov. The Tree of Grief. 2005

The Tree of Grief

Alan Kornaev and Zaurbek Dzanagov



Stop, pause, and remember the dead… if you’re a believer, light a candle and pray for the dead… if you’re a secular, stop, pause, and reflect on what this all means for us. We all stand mute before the Mystery of Death. It’s the one common thread in all of our lives… have a care and REMEMBER…


Thursday, 31 October 2013

Church Near 9/11 Site to Echo Landmarks of East

00 Architectural Rendering. St Nicholas Greek Orthodox. NYC. 31.10.13


00 NY Times Infographic. Location of St George Greek Orthodox Church. New York NY. 31.10.13


St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Destroyed on 9/11, to Rebuild With Byzantine Design

A gleaming, monumental, and unmistakable symbol of Orthodox Christianity shall rise at the south end of the National 9/11 Memorial under plans drawn up for the new St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. On 11 September 2001, the South Tower of the World Trade Center (WTC) crushed the original St Nicholas Church when it collapsed. Plans to replace it on the grounds of the new WTC, across Liberty Street from the memorial, have sputteredstopped, and crept ahead in the intervening years. However, no images of the new church were available… until now. Eight images published recently on architect Santiago Calatrava’s website, the designer of the new St Nicholas, showed a building that drew inspiration from great churches of the East… Hagia Sophia and the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora, both of which were in the old imperial capital of Constantinople (now, Istanbul). The shallow dome of the new St Nicholas Church will have 40 ribs, as does the dome of Hagia Sophia. Alternating bands of stone on the corners will echo the walls of the Chora church. Although both date to the early centuries of Christianity, later, both saw use as mosques before becoming museums. Whilst that ecumenical provenance may accurately reflect the stated desire of the Greek Orthodox Church to create a space in which all visitors would feel welcome, it’ll almost certainly ignite a new round of debate over the role of religion at or around the WTC. In 2010, national attention focused on a bitter fight over an Islamic community centre and mosque proposed nearby.

Mr Calatrava, the architect of the WTC Transportation Hub, is known for his expressive designs and, sometimes, projects with impressive cost overruns. Certainly, his St Nicholas, which will include a nondenominational mourning centre, will look nothing like the modest old parish church that it’s replacing. That was in a decrepit 19th-century tavern at 155 Cedar Street with a little rooftop bell cote and cross to announce its purpose. The new church will occupy the corner of an L-shape block bounded on the north by Liberty Street and on the east by Greenwich Street. Already, a large bulkhead under construction over entrance ramps to a vehicle security centre beneath the WTC takes up much of this block. The church and a landscaped open space known as Liberty Park would sit atop this bulkhead, a little more than 20 feet above street level. That a Spanish architect should design a modern Byzantine church in Lower Manhattan for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, based on buildings in Turkey that were used for Islamic worship, goes to the heart of the message the archdiocese says it hopes to send with the $20 million project. The new St Nicholas is to open by early 2016.

Fr Mark Arey, a spokesman for the GOAA, said, “If I may quote Jesus, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people’. It’ll be open to everyone… the believer, the unbeliever, the Orthodox Christian, the atheist. Whoever you are, this is a space that you can come into and find some meditative solace”. However, in the near term, meditative solace might be elusive. In 2011, the American Atheists, a non-profit group, filed a lawsuit to prevent the inclusion of a cross-shape steel beam from the wreckage of the original WTC in the memorial museum on the site. A court dismissed the suit in March. A year earlier, plans to create an Islamic community centre and mosque on Park Place, two blocks north of the WTC site, attracted furious criticism. Mayor Michael Bloomberg emerged as a forceful defender of the proposal, citing the constitutional protection of worship. Fr Arey recalled that Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, the First Hierarch of the GOAA, had stood with the mayor, saying, “We always defended their right to build a mosque on Park Place. We were proud to be with the mayor that day. It was the right thing to do. It was the spiritual thing to do. It was the American thing to do”. Whilst the building recently served as a prayer space, the full centre hasn’t been built.

Comments on the TriBeCa Citizen website, which published the renderings, show that some viewers already say that St Nicholas resembles a mosque. On Tuesday, the New York Post noted the presence of the drawings on Mr Calatrava’s website. Fr Arey said that he’d welcome the dialogue ahead, “The dome, invented by the Mycenaean Greeks, was a Christian form of architecture that was borrowed by the Islamic world. There are going to be some wonderful teachable moments down the road”. The GOAA chose Mr Calatrava after an invitation-only competition with 12 other architectural firms. Fr Arey said that his design has a “certain gravitas. I believe he’s achieved mass without volume”. By that, he meant that the church, which is only 65 feet tall from its floor to the tip of the cross on the dome, conveys the sense of having a substantive presence. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the redevelopment of the WTC site, shall lease the church site for 99 years to the GOAA, based in New York City. In exchange, the church relinquished the 155 Cedar Street site to accommodate the authority’s building plans.

30 October 2013

David W Dunlap

New York Times



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