Sunday, September 5, 2010

Global Greek Issues: Let's ALL Help Ensure That Ground Zero's St Nicholas is Rebuilt! ACT NOW!

The WTC Twin Towers before September 11, 2001
(C) Global Greek World

In a few days, on 11 September, it will be exactly 9 years since the dreadful events that changed America and the world forever.

In a few days it will be 9 years since the world watched in horror as a tragedy unfolded,  thousands of people were trapped and killed in the simultaneous terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre's Twin Towers in New York City.

In a few days it will be 9 years since that awful day which set off the USA's deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq, 9 years since the USA and the world went to war with terrorism and marked the beginning of the most bloody period since Vietnam for the USA and it's allies.

In a few days it will be 9 years since the falling rubble of one of  New York's landmark towers caused the total destruction of a beautiful little Greek Orthodox Church at it's base, the church of St.Nicholas, built in 1916 on Cedar Street, across the street from where the World Trade Center eventually stood, by Greek immigrants who worked the shipyards at New York Harbor. For those that don't know, the Greek Orthodox religion is the oldest Christian religion in the world. 

St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at Ground Zero before September 11, 2001
St. Nicholas, points out  Rev. Mark Arey, Greek Orthodox of America Archdiocese spokesman, in an interview to Newsweek, is the patron saint of sailors in the Eastern tradition, and  the Greeks have been sailing the wine-dark seas since the days of Homer.

The intense debate over the Park51 Islamic Centre which has received approval to build at Ground Zero and the impasse over the rebuilding of the only place of worship actually at Ground Zero on 9/11 highlights the discrimination and adds fuel to the fire of the Orthodox faithful.

Why this discrimination? 

"St. Nicholas has nothing to do with this mosque controversy. We believe in religious freedom, and whether the mosque should or shouldn't be there, that's a whole different dialogue," Rev Arey told the Huffington Post,   "But it's a rising tide that lifts all boats. People say the mosque has been greenlighted, but why not this church?"

Former New York Governor, George Pataki, who as governor promised that St. Nicholas would be rebuilt after the 2001 attacks, said that the Port Authority needed to reach out to church officials.

"It's just wrong that the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church, which was there, which was part of the master plan ... has basically been ignored,
" he said.

Prominent Greek Americans and leaders of the Greek Orthodox Church have added their support to the  voice of the 300 member congregation and it's supporters in an effort to have the issue resolved.

"Rather than focus his attention on the mosque, Governor  Paterson should step in right away to ensure that the state of New York and the Port Authority uphold the agreement with the Greek Orthodox church so this project can go forward without further delay," said State Senator Dean Skelos, while George Demos, a Long Island Republican congressional candidate seeking to unseat  Republican Tim Bishop, said he wrote President Barack Obama a letter lobbying for the church and saying, among other things  that  

"All of our political leadership seems intent on assisting the mosque, at the same time they have taken no steps to make sure St. Nicholas is rebuilt,"
"What about us? Why have they forgotten or abandoned their commitment to us?" asked Father Alex Karloutsos, assistant to Archbishop Demetrios, head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in a 24 th August 2010 Associated Press Article Supporters: Church  Ignored in NYC Mosque Furor.

"When I see them raising issues about the mosque and not thinking about the church that was destroyed, it does bother us."

Port Authority officials said the church wanted final approval on the design of the parking lot and the potential for an additional $20 million in public money. The agency said it made a final offer in 2009 that was rejected.

St. Nicholas Church continues to retain the right to build on its original location," the agency said in a statement Monday. It said work could begin in 2013 if the church helped finance it.

Father Karloutsos denied that any offer had been rejected, instead saying that Port Authority pulled the deal and has since ignored the church's attempts at dialogue. 

"This is about the Port Authority reneging on a promise," he said.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has recently reiterated that promise and Newsweek, in it's September 2nd article titled, The Other Religion at Ground Zero, mentions that last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that negotiations had resumed, but Father Arey says no one has reached out to him. “We are very concerned. We’re not going to be pushed out. We are very determined to rebuild the church at Ground Zero.”

We at Global Greek World agree. We think that this is an issue of concern to all Greeks and Greek Orthodox around the world, irrespective of the controversy over the building of the Mosque.

We believe it is up to the Global Greek Community, and especially the Greek American Community to stand up and be counted. 

There's nothing like a bit of pressure and there's a great deal or power in numbers, so ACT NOW!

Mobilise all of our Greek American representatives such as Olympia Snowe, John Sarbanes, Niki Tsongas, Zack Space, Dina Titus, Gus Bilirakis, Charlie Christ,  and contenders such as Alexis Gianoulias, in support of this cause!
Capitol Hill before September 11, 2001
(C) Global Greek World
Write to your local congressman/woman or senator,  to President Obama and to Secretary of State, Clinton, asking that they support the Greek American Community in it's endeavours to have St Nicholas rebuilt as soon as possible.  

The White House before September 11, 2001
(C) Global Greek World
For those that can afford to, let's send a donation to help finance the project.People have sent money from all over the world in support of this cause. Let's keep the momentum going!

Let's ALL ACT NOW to ensure the continuing presence of St Nicholas, a little Greek Orthodox Church that was sacrificed on that black day, almost 9 years ago, when terrorism came to the USA and changed the course of history forever! 

To read more, click on the relevant links highlighted in the body of the post.
To see how you can help rebuild, go to the St Nicholas website

1 comment:

  1. It took Dean Skelos 9 years to utter a word about St. Nicholas - and only after others spoke up before him. He's a fraud.


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