Church Destroyed on 9/11 Rebuilt, Pays Tribute to the Fallen at Ground Zero


Credit: St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine

Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in lower Manhattan has risen from the ashes standing as a symbol of comfort and hope, especially for those who lost loved ones at Ground Zero. On September 11, 2001, the church was destroyed when the South Tower of the World Trade Center fell during the terrorist attacks. The church will be consecrated on July 4 in a special ceremony at which they are expecting over 1,500 worshipers from around the United States marking its completion.  

According to North Jersey, “the church is not just a place of worship but a place of remembrance for those who perished during 9/11. Images and tributes to 9/11 victims and rescue workers will be part of the design. Since many of the victims don’t have a cemetery, this will be a place where they can all be remembered, said George Gigicos, communications director for the Friends of St. Nicholas, a non-profit which helped raise nearly $95 million in donations for the project.”

The ornate building has drawn much attention for its heavily symbolic architecture. According to Rev. Andreas Vithoulkas, the Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne of Saint Nicholas National Shrine, the church building features a transparent dome and wall that lights up at night giving the building a unique glowing warmth. In a world of darkness, he adds, the church reminds visitors of the light of faith and goodness in the world. Above the altar is a painting of Mother Mary extending her arms in prayer over the signature landmarks in New York City. 

Though not much was able to be salvaged from the attack, the church does have a “mangled” candelabra and an icon of Saint Dionysius still in its possession. Holding onto the original relics of this historical church is meaningful for the congregation as they remember those who sought refuge, peace, and comfort within its walls. Paying tribute to the memory of the lives that were lost and the church that once stood before that tragic day, the new church now stands as a tall reminder of hope, faith, and resilience. 


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