September 9th, 2010
04:33 PM ET

That other worship space at ground zero

Editor’s Note: CNN’s Mary Snow is filing a story tonight on the Situation Room about St. Nicholas Church, the only church destroyed at ground zero on 9/11. She filed this report from New York. You can watch Mary’s piece on the Situation Room today on CNN between 5pm-7pm EST and tell us what you think.

Here in New York City, there’s been much focus on the Cordoba House that’s near ground zero, but did you know there was a church destroyed on 9/11 that has yet to be rebuilt?

St Nicholas is a Greek Orthodox Church. It was a tiny three-story church that sat on a lot 22 feet by 50 feet in the shadow of the south tower at the World Trade Center site. When the tower fell it crushed the church building. Rebuilding efforts have gone nowhere.  The church has been negotiating with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for years, but both sides accuse the other of walking away from negotiations.

The Port Authority says, in essence, that a window has passed for the church to rebuild at a nearby location with tens of millions of dollars of public money because construction at a security center at ground zero couldn’t wait. Now, if the church wants to rebuild at its original location, it’ll have to wait until 2013, when construction is complete.

What do you think? Should a third party get involved to find a solution?

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Christianity • Church and state • Greek Orthodox Church • New York • TV • United States

soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Aaron Moore Sacramento, CA


    November 11, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  2. Aaron Moore Sacramento, CA

    Hope and change, hope and chage.

    November 11, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  3. vanessa

    If the Greek-Orthodox religion is so worthless as some of you claim, then please explain how come it is the ONLY religion that receives the holy light EVERY year in the Tomb of Jesus for Easter. Not even the Catholic pope can receive it unless the Greek Orthodox bishop GIVES it to him. Make sure you know the definition of worthless before you throw it around in your "posts."


    September 14, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  4. Iqbal khan


    September 10, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
  5. Iqbal khan

    Rosebud,the web site for the above is Love of Allah is


    September 10, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  6. Iqbal khan


    September 10, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
  7. loupgarous

    Amazing that the government (the Port Authorities of New York and New Jersey) has not been quick to make good the damage to the parishioners of St. Nicholas when property under its control fell onto the church, crushing it. Before a single brick is laid for the Cordoba Center, St. Nicholas should be entirely rebuilt. Any other outcome would be farcical.

    September 10, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
  8. Selfish Gene

    illiteracy is not having the ability to read, not the ability to ignore mythology or to grasp concepts greater than "god did it"

    September 10, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  9. PolemicChristian

    I can't believe the ignorance and intolerance displayed by Selfish Gene, GSA, David Johnson and Jessie... are you guys living in 21st Century reality? The Orthodox Christian faith precedes Roman Catholicism and the Protestant Reformation by CENTURIES... for any present-day American to refer to Orthodox Christianity – or any other religion, for that matter – as "worthless" only demonstrates the extent of one's illiteracy... also, this is not about "better planning" for the Greek Orthodox Church, which had been on the World Trade Center site since 1916 – long before it was destroyed on 9/11; long before there was a Ground Zero; and long before there was even a WTC... this is about money the NY/NJ Port Authority no longer wants to spend to rebuild a minority religious group's historical church... the Port Authority is banking on the general public's lack of knowledge in its effort to get away with pushing a Christian minority out... and for those who think this is issue is different from Park 51, think again... whether it's private citizens with anti-Muslim sensitivities against an Islamic cultural center two blocks away from Ground Zero, or bureaucrats at a public agency setting up roadblocks against rebuilding a church on Ground Zero, the forces of racist opposition are still vigorously at work in BOTH cases... and for those who think the Port Authority shouldn't let the church rise from the ashes of 9/11 and help it become bigger and better than before, every other building on the WTC Memorial site is going to be bigger and better than before, so why not the church? The church has actual rights to be there, and its reconstruction should be commensurate with the rest of the Memorial project.

    September 10, 2010 at 10:58 am |
    • Selfish Gene

      do you know what a paragraph is?

      September 10, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      I don't really give two 5 h i t 5 about your dying sect of xtianity

      September 10, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
    • loupgarous

      The issue isn't what religion the parishioners of St. Nicholas belonged to when their property was crushed on 9/11 – it's when an undeniable civil tort against American citizens is going to be resolved in a legal fashion.

      Right now, the parishioners of St. Nicholas, all or nearly all American citizens endowed with Fourth Amendment rights to be secure in their property, are standing without a place of worship while nearby, Saudi Arabia is bankrolling a multi-million dollar shrine to the ideology that crushed their church and snuffed out 3,000 lives.

      I could care less what Selfish Gene gives anything, including the fecal matter which rolls out of his mouth instead of his rectum, about. I'd like to see some ordinary people get a fair shake before the rich and powerful are taken care of.

      September 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
    • Kate


      I wonder how it would be taken if Imam Rouf managed to help get St Nicholas sorted financially and back in operation.

      Just thinkin'

      September 10, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
    • loupgarous

      @Kate – highly unlikely, since the later suras of the Qur'an specifically prohibit any such cooperation with Christians or Jews. And the later suras of the Qur'an are considered the most authoritative by most Quranic scholars.

      September 10, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
    • Kate


      It might all be down to interpretation of "friends", the context has been suggested to come out as an equivalent word to "partners" by some scholars I think.

      Just sayin'

      September 10, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
  10. KitKat

    I am of the Greek Orthodox faith. I am disappointed that the rebuild of Christ's home in St Nicholas is under negotiations. The church dates back to 1916. When your home is destroyed will you pick up and relocate? Rebuild! Be stronger and more beautiful! With peace and love anything is possible! Lord have mercy on all and rest the souls of those lost in this violent act. God bless!

    September 10, 2010 at 3:21 am |
  11. rosebud

    Ahmed...that's completely backwards, you know. There can be no justice without love. It all starts with love, and it is not black and white. It is possible to love both the perpetrator and the victim. Have you ever thought of that possibility?

    September 10, 2010 at 1:35 am |
  12. Iqbal khan


    September 9, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
    • rosebud

      Iqbal khan, who is Allah? Is he a God of love?

      September 9, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
    • David Johnson

      The kid is irritating after awhile.

      September 9, 2010 at 11:18 pm |
    • Ahmad Hosein

      Allah is a God of Mercy and Justice and Compassion. There can be no love without justice. For to love an unjust person is to hate the victim of the unjust person. Mercy and compassion are love in action.

      September 10, 2010 at 12:11 am |
    • loupgarous

      Before you dance too hard on the ruins of St. Nicholas, Iqbal Khan, realize that 1,054 Minuteman missiles sit in silos from which they could make that scriptural prophecy of yours factual on Tehran and Riyadh. In fact, were the United States of America simply to use a tiny fraction of that firepower on your more radical co-religionists, Earth would be a much happier and less contentious place.

      September 10, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
  13. Watcher

    Typical New York Liberalism. You can build a Mosque on Ground Zero where Muslims will dance on the grave of those they have slain, yet you cannot REBUILD a church...I suspect because they are Christians.

    September 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
    • Kate


      Nope, just typical New York – nothing ever gets built on time or on budget the moment New York gets involved.

      That's why we still have a hole in the ground 9 years on.

      Just sayin'

      September 10, 2010 at 3:45 am |
    • glo

      Watcher...really? You are very very sad.

      September 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  14. Jessie

    Greek Orthodox? Pfft. That's barely a church.

    September 9, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
    • Nicholas

      Jessie, the Greek Orthodox Church is the second largest and oldest Christian faith in the world.

      September 9, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
    • helpivelostnothing

      Jessie, the Greek Orthodox Church is the oldest and second largest Christian faith in the world.

      September 10, 2010 at 11:48 am |
    • Selfish Gene

      Jessie, the Greek Orthodox Church is the oldest and second largest Christian faith in the world.

      September 10, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
    • loupgarous

      Your ignorance of the history of the Christian Church is appalling. Try cracking a history book on the subject, or using our good friend Google

      September 10, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
  15. OfCourse

    I hope the State Department offers the Greek Orthodox Church the same the same considerations it gave Imam Rauf. The State Department stated that, "We do have a program whereby through our Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau here at the State Department, we send people from Muslim communities here in this country around the world to help people overseas understand our society and the role of religion within our society.” I would expect them to have the exact same program for other religions so they too can help people overseas understand our society and the role of religion within our society. The State Department better step up to the plate. Christians are also misunderstood. If the State Dept. doesn't step up to the plate I would suspect that would cause a problem.

    September 9, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
    • loupgarous

      You do realize that this would require the US State Department to be even-handed and impartial with its funding. Muslims are a tiny fraction of the population, yet Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have authorized Imam Rauf's airfare to spread God literally knows what (because he is saying it away from State Department decision-makers, and in Arabic) throughout the world; Oral Roberts and John Hagee have to buy their own tickets (for which we can thank a merciful God).

      The First Amendment has been used to justify some truly vindictive measures against privately-funded schools in this country on the grounds that the establishment clause of the Amendment prohibits any public support for education provided by religious bodies, even though the parents of the children being educated are thus being deprived of the education their tax money funds.

      Yet, the State Department can find the money to transport an adherent to a religion whose later suras encourage and command the enslavement and murder of the majority of our country's citizens because of their own religious faith. Why?

      September 10, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  16. TammyB

    I think arbitration in this matter would be a good thing. I understand about the security center, however, I understand the Church's stance, that they want to rebuild.

    September 9, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Do we really need another church? What about a Starbucks?

      September 9, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
    • Ahmad Hosein

      what about a new joint for your pole danc ing daughter?

      September 10, 2010 at 12:08 am |
    • Kate

      @David Johnson

      A church dedicated to Katee Sackhoff? Now there's a concept!

      Just theologizin'

      September 10, 2010 at 3:43 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Ahmad Hosein

      You said, "what about a new joint for your pole danc ing daughter?"

      The difference is, I could still love my pole dancing daughter. Muslims would slit their pole dancing daughter's throats.

      September 10, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  17. GSA

    This issue or article has nothing to do with faith really, they need money and better planning...something the Cordoba Mosque has, maybe they could learn a thing or 2. Also the Mosque will have an area for Jewish prayer and Christian prayers as well.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
    • Watcher

      Yeah, right.....we believe you.....NOT!

      September 9, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
    • David Johnson

      WoW! There will be three worthless religions all in one structure! Hooooray!

      September 9, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
    • Ahmad Hosein

      hoooray, no space for war mongering atheists. Long live your grand daddy Hit ler.

      September 10, 2010 at 12:07 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Ahmad Hosein

      You said, "hoooray, no space for war mongering atheists. Long live your grand daddy Hit ler."

      Not a war monger, but I don't think the followers of Islam are peace loving. I think we should watch them really close.

      I have no German blood. My people were English.

      September 10, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      war mongering atheists, like gw bush? osama bin laden? king henry, Napolean, and on and on throughout recorded history?
      Don't you dare count hitler as an atheist. by his own writings in mein kampf, he wais a theist. and very much based in christian mythos.

      September 10, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
    • Kate

      @selfish gene

      Hitler was a mysticist, and no-one's entirely sure how much of it wasn't because of his own delusions about racial superiority and his place at the head of the thousand-year Reich. He was much better at tapping into everyone else's religion.

      And Stalin was a mass murdering war mongering athiest. Religiously so on all counts 😛

      Just historianin'

      September 10, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  18. Selfish Gene

    I bet there is room for them inside of the Cordoba Community Center Mosque Swimming Pool.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.