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September 10th, 2010
05:58 PM ET

That other worship space at ground zero

Editor's Note: CNN's Mary Snow and Alexia Mena bring us this report on the only place of worship destroyed on 9/11 and their hopes to rise at ground zero.

(CNN) -  The unassuming three-story St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
stood dwarfed in the shadow of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Built
in 1916 in the style of the old village parishes in Greece, its location in
what became the glass and steel jungle of New York's financial district was
curious, to say the least.

The church had a congregation of about 70 families. They vowed to rebuild
it after the South Tower, engulfed in smoke, collapsed and crushed it on
September 11, 2001. But no real progress has been made.

The church negotiated with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees construction at the site, and in 2008, both sides tentatively agreed that the church would rebuild nearby using tens of millions of dollars in public money. The plan also allowed the Port Authority to move ahead with a Vehicle Security Center, which is part of the World Trade Center redevelopment.

But the Port Authority said the church made extra demands that threatened to delay the construction of the entire site. It says it made its final offer in 2009 of up to $60 million and told St. Nicholas that the World Trade Center could not be delayed by the issue. It says the church rejected the offer and walked away.

Leaders at St. Nicholas have a different version of events. "In our perspective, they walked away," said Peter Drakoulias, an executive member of the church board. He says the church is a piece of a complicated puzzle, adding, "two different states and the city of New York make up the Port Authority. We've been through three governors and four directors of the Port Authority, so I just think that there's been a lot of cooks in the kitchen, if you will, and hopefully it will get sorted out."

While efforts to rebuild St. Nicholas reached a stalemate, a new development in Manhattan has focused the country on religious architecture and ground zero. The Cordoba House, also known as Park51, attracted enormous public attention and embroiled public officials in controversy.

While some see the church and the Islamic center as different issues, at least one Orthodox Christian leader used the Park51 controversy to redirect the dialogue to St. Nicholas. Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, said that while "it's unfortunate that it took a controversy over a mosque to bring attention to [the church], there is a silver lining in that controversy, in that St. Nicholas is getting a lot of attention. We hope the support we are witnessing, a groundswelling so to speak, will get the Port Authority to come back to the table to so we can rebuild our church."

The Port Authority says that St. Nicholas has the right to build on its original location and that work could begin in 2013 when the Vehicle Security Center is completed. Stephen Sigmund, a Port Authority spokesman, says the real question always has been whether "tens of millions of public dollars should be spent to move the site to a different site on the World Trade Center site to build a church six times the size of the original church, and to make sure any arrangements for that didn't further delay the construction of the World Trade
Center site."

Drakoulias disputes the notion that the church would have to be much larger. He says the new site would account for floors of "air space" it had above its original plot that was buildable space.

He and other church leaders are determined to rebuild St. Nicholas on or near its original location. "We recognize again this is a birthright, this is the only place we want to be," Drakoulias said.

And the fight, he says, is emotional. "We're talking about literally little old ladies in their 80s who say 'I don't want to die before I see my church rebuilt,' " he said, "those are the people I personally am here to
serve."

Drakoulias is a legacy of the founding families of St. Nicholas. His grandfather was a member and was recognized as an archon, the highest honor a layman can achieve within the Orthodox Church. In his right breast pocket, Drakoulias carries a hand-sewn patch of the archon emblem. "It's part of my motivation, part of doing something in memory of my grandfather. It's what he would have done," he says.

When asked about the sticking points of size and money cited by the Port Authority, Drakoulias rejected the claim. "If it was all about money," he says, "we would have taken deals offered to us decades ago to move elsewhere. It's never been about money. It's about building on or near our original site - the birthright of St. Nicholas - to go back to that site where it was for 85
years, prior to 9/11. Plain and simple."



CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • 9/11 • Christianity • Church and state • Greek Orthodox Church • Houses of worship • New York • United States

« Previous entry
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. Hajde

    Hajte svi vi u picku lijepe matere!

    September 11, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  2. Patriotic

    USA majority are Christian. And it is Christian nation. Nobody can speak the the right about building a church. Muslim want to build a church go to your home country and build one. Otherwise now you will ask freedom to build a mosque then you will ask
    to implement ugly Sharia law(introduced in 14 centuries ago) in USA. Finally you will ruin our freedom and our nation.

    September 11, 2010 at 9:07 am |
    • Wzrd1

      What country should they go back to? Since MANY, MANY Muslims are multi-generational citizens, what right do YOU have to tell them to leave?
      None.
      I guess you want the Greek Orthodox to leave the country too, they're not your church.
      Sharia law can NEVER be instituted in the United States, some constitution thing says it.
      No, YOU will ruin this nation. *I* will NOT permit it. I did NOT dedicate 27+ years of my life in military service to this land for people like YOU to destroy our nation and our founding principles.

      September 11, 2010 at 9:21 am |
    • Libra

      I am deeply sorry for the loss of 3000 innocent 911 victims that consists people of all faith including Muslims. I hope and pray that they are in heaven. I also think it is reasonable to counter Al-Qaeda to protect Americans at home and abroad. There is no justification to kill people.
      My question is what did we give the Iraqi people where we have killed more than 300,000 innocent civilians and children based on an unjustified war. Have we ever talked about their value of lives as human being? Are we being fair? In America, we are double standards when it comes to our own interest. To us only our/ American lives are the most valuable because we are the worlds largest economy, because we are the top military power in the world? So we can do whatever we want to because of our “money” and “muscle“.
      We are still not happy with the equation that is already way out of proportion ,
      i.e. 3000 Americans = 300,000 Iraqis. Are we fair? Was that a necessary war? If we are fair why we don’t talk about those Iraqi deaths?
      How much money we invest for war and how much money we spent for peace?
      Why are we so biased? When the Israelis kill the Palestinians we(Americans) still support Israelis. We should condemn both nations when they kill. The whole world laugh at us because of our act. In America, if we hurt an animal, we go to jail. In middle east if we kill 300,000 human and we still don’t consider we did anything wrong. Patriotism is acceptable, however, killing is not.
      We love and respect John Lennon for “Imagine”, but we are double standard when it comes to practice and implement his divine thoughts…..May god bless the world not only us....

      September 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      thats exactly what the native indians told the christians. "this is our land, if you want to build a church, go back to your home country". but you did not listen to them.

      now you want muslims to listen to you! i hope you get the irony of your comment.

      September 11, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  3. Charollett Radakovic

    Bottom line is, the muslims can build their church anywhere they want, so everyone does ask the question "why there?", it is so disrespectful to America to build their church right there near ground zero. Muslims lose respect by doing this to Americans. WE AMERICANS ASK YOU, WHY THERE? Is this your way of slapping Americans in the face and yet you reap the benefits of living in America.

    September 11, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  4. LizardMom

    This story was about St Nicholas. Why all the repetetive rhetoric about the mnosque?

    September 11, 2010 at 9:01 am |
    • Wzrd1

      I think the local supermarkets had a special nationwide on Stupid Flakes AND Moron Milk, of which many of these posters have had a double helping of.

      September 11, 2010 at 9:06 am |
    • Grace

      Yes, enough about the mosque. Stay with the subject "Greek Church".

      September 11, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  5. Reality

    The USA's War on Terror and Aggression:

    A contemporary review:

    -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,481 and 924 died in non-combat, 97,172 – 106,047 Iraqi civilians killed as of 8/10/2010 mostly due the Shiite and Sunni suicide bombers.

    – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,116 killed in action, 902 killed in non-combat situations as of 08/10/2010. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

    – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

    – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

    – Libya has become almost civil. Recently Libya agreed to pay $1.5 billion to the victims of their terrorist activities. Apparently this new reality from an Islamic country has upset OBL and his “cra-zies” as they have thre-atened Libya. OBL sure is a di-sgrace to the world especially the Moslem world!!! Or is he???

    – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

    – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

    – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

    – Bin La-d-en has been cornered under a rock in Western Pakistan since 9/11.

    – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols will follow soon.

    – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

    – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

    – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.

    – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

    – And of course the bloody terror brought about the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

    September 11, 2010 at 8:30 am |
    • Abudu Mukarram

      Also Reality, your comment is very indicative of the racist minded American Caucasian. He's in control and his way is the way or else. Most of the stuff you elaborated on above was caused by American government in the first place. You like the KKK is operating in suits in cooperate America everyday. One of their members just raised his ugly head in Florida in a 3 piece suit. You can talk about and criticize Islam all you like. The more you do the more Americans and others will convert. Most people have come to realize that when America condemns something if you read between the lines you usually find out it was where you should have been in the first place.

      September 11, 2010 at 9:35 pm |
      • Mark from Middle River

        Mark from Middle River says:
        September 11, 2010 at 10:05 pm
        Abudu – I really do not want to come to Reality’s defence but when dealing with the issue of America and Islam I do not know if you or any one can automatically label folks as racist klan members. If that were true then the klan has a good amount enough to start an minority branch of the kkk.

        And if you are talking about America converting to Islam because there are those that condemn Islam. ….

        …… Then using your logic both America and Islam better get ready for massive conversion to being lesbian gay and similar.

        You are foolish and narrowminded to think that Islam is the only group to suffer condemnation. Think of what Muslims are allowed do in the
        USA and compare it to what gays and lesbians can not.

        September 11, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
      • Reality

        For only the eyes of Abudu Mukarram:

        -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,481 and 924 died in non-combat, 97,172 – 106,047 Iraqi civilians killed as of 8/10/2010 mostly due the Shiite and Sunni suicide bombers.

        – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,116 killed in action, 902 killed in non-combat situations as of 08/10/2010. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

        – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

        – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

        – Libya has become almost civil. Recently Libya agreed to pay $1.5 billion to the victims of their terrorist activities. Apparently this new reality from an Islamic country has upset OBL and his “cra-zies” as they have thre-atened Libya. OBL sure is a di-sgrace to the world especially the Moslem world!!! Or is he???

        – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

        – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

        – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

        – Bin La-d-en has been cornered under a rock in Western Pakistan since 9/11.

        – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

        – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols will follow soon.

        – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

        – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

        – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.

        – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

        – And of course the bloody terror brought about the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

        September 12, 2010 at 12:46 am |
    • Iqbal khan

      Mr.Reality improve your knowledge check the following.

      American Hegemony – A Timeline
      A compiled timeline and comment on US foreign interventions, covert ops, and maintenance of Western economic and military dominance.
      http://www.flagrancy.net/timeline.html – Cached – Similar

      September 18, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  6. Stacey

    Well hopefully the church had insurance to cover any sort of catastrophe, and if it did have insurance, how is it that the church would be rebuilt with public money? If it did not have insurance, then perhaps the churches congregation could pay for the rebuild by use of their own money, fund raisers, etc....The church should be regarded as any other building/house that did or did not have insurance.

    September 11, 2010 at 8:30 am |
    • Wzrd1

      Stacey, what kind of terrorism insurance do YOU have? Most insurance policies have exemptions for acts of war, insurrection and terrorism.
      Public money was set aside for rebuilding within days of the 9/11 attacks. This was due to it being a true disaster that affected MANY entities, just as a hurricane or earthquake would and because insurance DOESN'T cover it.
      So, by your reasoning, NOTHING would be built on that land at all.

      September 11, 2010 at 9:05 am |
    • Cerri

      Why IS the church going to be rebuilt at public cost?

      September 11, 2010 at 10:43 am |
    • Wolf69

      @Cerri, Because the separation of church and state is a joke.

      September 11, 2010 at 11:04 am |
  7. Reality

    Myths abound in this world!!! Some examples, Gabriel, the pretty, wingie thingie who carried the koran to the warmongering, womanizing, hallucinating, long-dead Arab named Mohammed and who also told Mary she would be the mother of the son of a god, Moro-ni, the pretty,thingie and his horn who Joe Smith invented in his drunken hallucinations about the golden tablets, and the greatest of myths, the resurrection and ascension of a simple, preacher man aka Jesus who actually is still amouldering in the dust of Palestine. And then there is always Santa Clause!!!

    September 11, 2010 at 8:28 am |
    • Kate

      @Reality

      You do know that not even Stephen Hawking can figure you out, don't you? Stephen Hawking Asks, What Is Reality?

      Just laffin' mah ass off

      September 11, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
      • Reality

        Hmmm, how do we deprogram Kate and her one-liners? Humbug upon her head? That worked of awhile but now she has regressed.

        September 11, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
        • Mark from Middle River

          Talk about how far some have come, we have seen a reduction of "cut and paste" post from you reality. 

          Heck the lack of ” one more” openings makes many happy that you have progressed. 

          September 11, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
      • peace2all

        @Kate

        Now that was good..... but.... ya' know, Professor Hawking is inching closer and closer to 'figuring out Reality'... 🙂

        Peace....

        September 12, 2010 at 2:07 am |
    • Just_Correctin'

      Agree with ya, @Reality... but Santa Claus will not be bringing you anything if you keep spelling his name wrong (Clause).

      September 11, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
      • Reality

        The Santa Clause is a 1994 American fantasy-comedy film directed by John Pasquin, distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc. and starring Tim Allen. In the film, Allen plays Scott Calvin, an ordinary man, who accidentally causes Santa Claus to fall from his roof on Christmas Eve and being knocked unconscious. When he and his young son finish Santa's trip and deliveries, they go to the North Pole, where Scott learns he must become the new Santa and convince those he loves that he is indeed, Father Christmas.

        September 11, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  8. WiseMan

    Should Muslims in Iraq prevent their fellow Christian Iraqis from building and expanding their Churches because allegedly the Church invaded Iraq in 2003 against the will of the international community and international laws.

    U.S.A. = Church

    according to the logic that equates Muslims with al-Qaida terrorists...!

    If we want to extrapolate cruelty, then where do we stop?

    September 11, 2010 at 8:00 am |
    • fred

      It's my understanding based on reading news articles in the mainstream press that a number of christian churches in the muslim world have been burned and otherwise damaged by muslims since 9/11, particularly in the middle east where christians are a tiny minority. And that a not insignificant number of arab christians have become refugees since then because of threats from their muslim neighbors.

      September 11, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  9. Gumby

    "both sides tentatively agreed that the church would rebuild nearby using tens of millions of dollars in public money."

    Oh yeah, I'm sure the church really had to be talked into that one. Pfft. If you religious loons want to rebuild, use your own money. You know, the money you bilk from the suckers that you call a "congregation". Keep your thieving hands off the public's money, you con artists.

    September 11, 2010 at 7:50 am |
    • Wzrd1

      Yes, that's absolutely fair. Your building is destroyed in an act of terror. Public money is set aside for disaster relief and reconstruction and ONLY businesses get to use it.
      Go away, you bother me.

      September 11, 2010 at 9:01 am |
    • Grace

      So why isn't their insurance company building it? I would think that would be the standard.

      September 11, 2010 at 11:11 am |
    • Luis

      To the ass-hat Wzrd1: "Public money is set aside for disaster relief and reconstruction and ONLY businesses get to use it" Wzrd go tell that to your friend, the Imam Feisal or the racketeers at the Cordoba Initiative, or the worst ass-hat of all, Mayor Bloomberg. His political career is finished after this.

      September 11, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  10. Alex

    good luck rebuilding St. Nicks

    September 11, 2010 at 7:26 am |
  11. Zaman

    Is Building Islamic community centre near Ground Zero is Islamphobia or race Hate crime?
    Is burning Quran a hate crime or a free speech issue? Is burning a Bible because you hate Christianity, a hate crime? How about burning a Torah? Is that an anti-Semitic act?
    It was not in the name of Islam 9/11 Happened, The terrorist happened to be Muslim, It was not in the name of Christianity the death camps and the Gas Chambers in Poland were constructed, they were Christian extremists and terrorists, were SIX Million innocent Jews were murdered, Are we not going to allow any Churches to be build near the death camps?, if there were no God, it would have been necessary to invent him, Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays. People kill and are killed because they cling too tightly to their own beliefs and ideologies. When we believe that ours is the only faith that contains the truth, violence and suffering will surely be the result.
    The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity
    Zaman from London

    September 11, 2010 at 7:18 am |
    • jords

      Awesome post, Zaman. Possibly the most logical and thoughtful I've read here in a number of days.

      September 11, 2010 at 7:37 am |
    • Regertz

      Of course these are hate crimes. The economic crisis has people on edge and there's fatigue after nine years of fighting, a lot of it unnecessary and pointless in Iraq. Muslim Americans died on 9.11 and their deaths should be mourned as fellow Americans. Muslim Americans fight in the armed forces and thank God for their courage cause they're our best symbol of freedom and American principle to the Islamic world. We aren't fighting Islam, we are trying to stop a bunch of fanatics. Some claim to be radical Muslims, others radical Christians, still others believe in nothing. Surely none follow any principles of any of the great faiths.

      Anyway, I agree...I hope St. Nicks gets rebuilt soon.

      September 11, 2010 at 7:51 am |
    • fred

      Sorry, Hitler was born a Christian but he rejected Christ. The death camps were Nazi. Nazism was/is cynical and manipulative and all about the big lie. It is/was also completely pagan.

      And the 9/11 hijackers were all devout muslims who claimed to be acting on behalf of Islam.

      I liked the rest of your post.

      September 11, 2010 at 8:22 am |
    • Larry

      I'm pretty sure Hitler and the Nazis were atheists, not Christian extremists.

      September 11, 2010 at 8:36 am |
    • Atheist_1

      @Larry the truth is Hitler was a devout catholic. He was supported by a couple of bishops for doing god's work. A famous quote that christians tend to forget that came from Hitler is "I have always been and always will be catholic". Try not to demonize us atheists with your dogma.

      September 11, 2010 at 10:27 am |
    • Mike

      Hey Larry, you would be WRONG!

      September 11, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • magnus

      sorry man, but the death camps were not built by christians. Hitler did not believe in Christ. Futhermore, Hitler never said: "in the name of Jesus, die jews". In contrast, muslims said :"in the name of allah, die americans". Sorry, you can mislead the public as much as you want to diminish what your religiion did on 9/11. no one cares your warped circular reasoning. your religion allows men to throw stones onto a woman until she dies.

      September 11, 2010 at 10:37 am |
    • Medardus

      "Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord." – Adolf Hitler from Mein Kampf

      "I may not be a light of the church, a pulpiteer, but deep down I am a pious man, and believe that whoever fights bravely in defense of the natural laws framed by God and never capitulates will never be deserted by the Lawgiver, but will, in the end, receive the blessings of Providence." – Adolf Hitler, speech July 5, 1944

      Sorry, Magnus. Hitler was a Christian.

      September 11, 2010 at 11:20 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      when people try to disassociate hedious behavior of christians and ex-christians (like Hitler) from christianity. they forget one basic fact. it is not that people do hedious things in the name of christianity or as christians. it is that christianity produces an extra-ordinary amount of people who do hedious things.

      the failures of christianity to reign in its deviant followers has resulted in much bigger, more hedious crimes than have been committed by Muslims in the name of Islam.

      September 11, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  12. Aashen

    The United States Government is the most clueless, hapless, incompetent bunch of bunglers you'll ever meet.
    The United States Government perpetrated the most complex and devious and logistically challenging conspiracy of all time, and not only that, not a single person of the thousands of people necessary to pull off such a sizable feat, has come forward with any concrete evidence as to anything actually happening, meaning the government must therefore have been able to keep all of these thousands of people silent for these past 10 years as well.

    Do you see the flaw in the logic? I'm sorry, but this is the equivalent of telling me a special ed first grader just devised a way to formally prove and define string theory, and we now know everything there is to know about physics!
    It is literally impossible for someone to be that incompetent and that devious at the same time, doesn't work. You have to pick one stance or the other, and until you do, you just come off looking like a moron 😦

    September 11, 2010 at 7:01 am |
  13. Duceyco

    The Crusades were a form of terrorism in the hopes to force the Middle East to bow down to Christianity.

    I am not blaming all Muslims...just a handful of nutbars did this and people are saying all Muslims are like this. Get a grip, people. I think there should be a court of churches built in the same area. Show the world that there can be peace. That these nutbars are wrong.

    September 11, 2010 at 7:00 am |
    • fred

      The first Crusade took place 400 years after the first Jihad.

      And after much of Southern Europe and the Byzantine Empire had been over run by Islamic Armies waging violent jihad that killed countless Christians.

      I know it's convenient for some muslims and their fellow travelers on the secular left to conveniently "forget" such basic facts.

      September 11, 2010 at 8:18 am |
    • WiseMan

      If you read books of that era, you will clearly see that what you call the first Jihad was understood at the time as a way for the people of the new faith to push back the injustice and aggression that imperialist the Romans and Persians have practiced for hundreds of years against various groups in the Middle East and north Africa... and the reported torture of Jesus Christ is only a vivid example.

      September 11, 2010 at 8:56 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      the difference between the first jihad and the first crusade is that jihad is part of the islamic religion, while crusading is not part of the christian religion.

      September 11, 2010 at 11:39 am |
    • Alan

      To recast the Crusades as some kind of defensive war is absurd. Let's not forget the continuous wars that waged among Christians of different sects following the Reformation.

      Look, horrible acts have been committed in the name of religion throughout history. To try to compare religions based on the horribleness of the acts committed by "adherents" to each is absurd and pointless. It is also pointless to say, well all religion is evil, because plenty of horrible acts have been committed by people in the name of non-religious beliefs, too. It really comes down to the pursuit of money, power, and revenge when you boil it all down.

      September 13, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  14. freewoman

    If a group of terrorists Christians flew 3 planes into Mecca or mosques, the Muslims would not allow a Christian church to be build near he ruins.

    Even if they church leader claimed it was just symbol of peace from a religion of peace.

    September 11, 2010 at 6:17 am |
    • candylady

      Actually, if Christian terrorists flew 3 planes into Mecca or a mosque the radical Muslims would kill every Christian within their sight, declare Jihad and go out and find some more. There would be a full-scale slaughter of Christians, terrorists or not. It's very sad that a small group of people can hold sway over so many, and in the name of religion, no less. That is part of why I do not subscribe to any organized faith – too much hypocrisy. The radical factions of any of the organized religions are just a little bit scary.

      September 11, 2010 at 7:19 am |
    • rick

      If Christians had flown planes into mecca as muslims did into the WTC Christians would have been slaughtered and all of the muslim world would have been at war with us. Just the threat of burnung a few qurans and there are demonstrations and threats from muslims all over the world, imagine if we flew planes into mecca or the dome of the rock in Jerusalem. Burning qurans some say would put our soldiers at risk and Christians in muslim countires would pay the price, I'm sure that would happen. WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      September 11, 2010 at 7:51 am |
    • Bobby

      Muslims want out of the middle east because it is the toilet bowl of the world. There is no such thing as a nice lifestyle there. People are poor, buildings are smashed, and all they do is fight.

      You all who voted for Obama remember this. You voted a man in who is more concerned for his rep internationally than with his own people. Or maybe he is standing up for his own kind. :/ Obama is nothing more than smooth words and no action. If you are an American, name one thing that has improved since he has been President? I'll wait while you think.

      September 11, 2010 at 9:38 am |
    • thatsrightblameobama

      @bobby: STFU

      September 11, 2010 at 9:46 am |
    • Cedar rapids

      you are comparing mecca to the twin towers? might be a good comparison if the planes had hit St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican instead. And imagine what the catholic community would have done then.

      September 11, 2010 at 10:44 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      regardless of whether you blow up something in mecca or not, muslims do not allow churches to be built in their midst. they do not have freedom of religion, so unlike you, they do not have to be hypocrites. no churches allowed. full stop. don't like it, go live somewhere else. in that sense muslims are much more honorable and honest than you are.

      nothing like a two-faced person. pompously boasting on and on about freedom of religion, while being a racist on the inside.

      September 11, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  15. freewoman

    if Christians or any other group had executed the same horrible act of murder, they would not be allowed to
    build there either.
    The Muslims did, so they should not be allowed to build a monument to their murderous act on humanity.
    I am sure if they flew a plane in the Vatican there would not be a mosque built near the ruins either.

    September 11, 2010 at 6:08 am |
    • Wzrd1

      Just WHAT, praytell, does ANY of this nonsense have to do with a Greek Orthodox church reconstruction or the lack thereof?
      Kindly stop posting after you've had your stupid flakes in the morning.

      September 11, 2010 at 8:59 am |
    • gross

      umm ok so what happened during the crusades????????

      September 11, 2010 at 9:44 am |
    • adam

      Not true. Mormons perpetrated the first act of terrorism on this country in 1857 and were still allowed to take over teh state of Utah.

      September 11, 2010 at 9:47 am |
    • Joe800

      ..this is directed to Gross:... What happened during the crusades was that muslim hijackers slaughtered thousands of Christian pilgrims for dozens of years and then the pilgrims began traveling with guards as escort and defended the pilgrim from being massacred. Then the pope and kings of europe began subsidizing the guards with feudal knights and it became a 100 year war ...but please recall one thing: christianitty Judaism predates christianity and both predate islam...

      September 11, 2010 at 10:57 am |
    • Luis

      There are so many haters out there who bash Christianity. And while I don't buy into religion, I also can't stand the smart-ass posters on this page making condescending remarks and back-handed comments. YEAH it's true America is too nice and too politically correct to the people who would destroy it. Enjoy it while it lasts because pretty soon even you haters won't be able to bash ANY religion. Freedom of Speech is gonna be gone soon thanks to wimpy liberal ass hats.

      September 11, 2010 at 11:18 am |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      had christians perpetuated 9/11, sure they would have been allowed to build at the 9/11 site!! only a small church or cult associated with the christian terr orists would have been banned. but in case of Islam, everyone is considered guilty, not just the extremists who committed the act.

      September 11, 2010 at 11:34 am |
    • Mars922

      @freewoman: You are saying "muslims did it", ma'am you can not hold 1.5 billion muslims for the act of few people that called themselves muslim. They are not muslim, in Islam commiting suicide or killing other innocent people is strictly prohibited! Therefore they violteted the basic fundamentals of Islam, hence they were NOT muslim, even thought they called themselves to be ones. Now, have you heard of genocide and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia Herzegovina? During the years 1992-1996 in Bosnia Herzegovina 279,000+ people were killed just because they were muslims by the Serbians who called themselves Orthodox Christian. Being a muslim I do not hold Christianity responsible for this genocide, because Christianity or Jesus Christ never taught the followers to kill other people because they have different religious faith. Before holding muslims responsible for 911 you need to think logically and read history. Thank you.

      September 11, 2010 at 11:57 am |
  16. freewoman

    Muslims just want to take over the world with their crazy myth.

    All American Women.. SAY NO SHARIA!!
    We worked too hard to get our equality..We will never give it up.

    September 11, 2010 at 6:02 am |
    • Wolf69

      Yep, just like Christian's want to take over the world with there's.

      September 11, 2010 at 10:50 am |
    • Luis

      Hey Wolf69. There are women clergy in the Christian faiths. Are there any women clergy in the Islamic faiths? Do we stone our women for going to the store without a male escort? Do we force our women to wear head covers and facial covers? Would you prefer your mother or your daughter wrapped from head to toe in a hot, black sheet?

      September 11, 2010 at 11:12 am |
    • Dawn

      Fight the terrorists of ALL religions, not ALL the people of ONE religion.

      September 11, 2010 at 11:14 am |
    • David Johnson

      And while you are at it, give up the crazy Christian myth!

      If we are gonna clean house, might as well do it right!

      September 11, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
  17. wilson

    $60 million for a church? What a waste of money!

    September 11, 2010 at 5:45 am |
    • nick

      Please do not be deceived with the 60 million dollars issue because it might not be true. Out of the 60, 40 million will go for the security entrance to the wtc beneath the church per the greeks. The port authority did not provide any breakdown of these costs and we really should not believe them. If it was really about the money, the port authority could have shown a good case in their favor and so far they did not.

      September 11, 2010 at 6:11 am |
    • David

      Your personal opinion is noted. Though if you're curious why it costs that much, you should probably do a bit of research into NYC urban development...

      September 11, 2010 at 6:11 am |
  18. 9/11 survivor

    As Carl Sagan once said, Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.
    It is 9 years after 9/11 and no one has ever produced a living hijacker.

    Imagine the boon to America's enemies if they had?

    There simply is no proof for retired theology teacher, D. R. Griffin's, and other
    9/11 conspiracy theorist's, claims about 9/11.

    They remain unsubstantiated claims nine years after 9/11, and it would seem
    retiree Griffin's just trying to make some money by selling some books.

    Are you his agent?

    September 11, 2010 at 5:25 am |
  19. alfks

    The Port Authority, whose tower fell on this private church site, seems to have swallowed the site in its grand plan. It should help rebuild this church and not obstruct it. It was the only house of worship destroyed in 9-11. It housed relics of St. Nicholas and holy items donated by the Russian czar. It was an active church and had been since 1916. Where is the leadership on this?

    September 11, 2010 at 12:28 am |
  20. Iqbal khan

    Ground zero is sacred as more then 3000 people were murderd on 9-11, yet they are building another commercial office and multi purpose building at that site to make many more millions actually they should have saved that land and made a monument, if you all remember the owners of the building have collected hundreds of millions of dollars, they should give some to the firefighters, police and other workers who helped cleanup the site and are now suffering with side effects and getting sick yet no body is taking care of these people as far as I remember they were denied of any help.
    On the other hand we are fighting tooth and nail on Permiting a islamic center 2 blocks away,in my opinion they should made amonument at ground zero with a park and place for worship and meditation for all the religeons of the world as people of all faith died on that spot and that place should not have any commercial use at all only then we can do justice with those who died and to their families.

    September 10, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
    • 9/11 survivor

      Where does one begin?
      First, the WTC does not belong to a person. It belongs to the People through a public agency, The Port Authority. The Authority leased the site before 9/11 and the lease holder has spent the money the insurance companies paid out, and more, in rebuilding. Only the 7WTC building in particular belongs to him. A monument is being built where the Twin Towers stood. NO other building will ever stand there. You might possibly live on the other side of the world or possibly be too young to remember. Millions and millions of dollars have been paid out, all kinds of money, to almost everyone who might have suffered that horrible day. Some want millions more. Maybe they deserve it. That is up to the courts. As that matter is not yet settled.

      The problem with the proposed Islamic center is that A, The muslim call to prayer blared five times a day on loudspeakers might be heard and cause offense and great pain to visitors and mourners at the WTC close nearby. And B, there is no way of preventing any new $100 million dollar Islamic Tower from becoming a de facto shrine to the 10 hijackers, devout muslims all, some of whose ashes likely fell about that spot. According to Islamic fundamentals, the muslims the hijackers killed became martyrs to Islam because they died in jihad against infidels. Some devout muslims believe 9/11 happened so that America might convert to Islam. If that is the case why so much determination-in the face of vast public disapproval-by the muslims who want it? It is no more religious freedom to allow such a possible, "memorial" at that spot than it is religious freedom to allow polygamy. Polygamy is practiced in the Islamic world and is not expressly forbidden by the Constitution. Will that be the next unyielding demand for religious freedom by intransigent American muslims? Please move the site at least a few blocks north where the dust clouds from the collapsed towers did not land. Say, north of Spring Street in Manhattan. That is religious freedom that isn't any probably mockery of the suffering of the victims.

      September 11, 2010 at 5:11 am |
    • SomeoneElse

      If we didn't use things because of a few deaths (and I'm sorry, I know Americans don't fully realize this, but 3000 is not a lot, though more than 0 is always too much), then society would never progress. A memorial of that size is a waste. Look to the future, not the past.

      September 11, 2010 at 6:17 am |
    • freewoman

      building a mosque there would at least might guarantee another Muslim flown plane would not be used as a tool of murder there.
      Perhaps more mosques could be used as terrorist shields.

      fill planes with copies of the Koran so they will not be used a flaming weapons on the rest of us.
      If burning the Koran is so bad.. lets use them as anti-terrorist shields.

      September 11, 2010 at 6:27 am |
    • Wzrd1

      OK, let's follow the logic of all of your arguments.
      First, this is a story about the Greek Orthodox church that was destroyed. You are saying it should all be a shrine instead, to include the Islamic Center two blocks away.
      OK, by that logic and the logic I've heard previously about human remains sprayed all over Manhattan, we'll do the "right" thing.
      ALL BUILDINGS IN MANHATTAN WILL BE RAZED and a vast park built. Manhattan island in its entirety will be a great, barren shrine.
      This is simply a property rights story, where the port authority and that church couldn't agree about what is church property.
      I guess a deed means nothing in New York these days. Anyone can come along and try to declare something a shrine.
      Frankly, if I owned EITHER property, by now you'd see the grandest toxic waste storage site in the land. It wouldn't be a superfund site, it'd be an ultra-mega-super-dooperfund site! Because if *I* can't use my own property, I'll make sure everyone knows what I think of the matter AND ensure that others can't land grab it, while I STILL make money off of it.
      So perhaps you should consider doing two things. One, shutting up about what you don't own OR live near. Two, consider it fortunate that THOSE folks are more reasonable than I am.

      September 11, 2010 at 8:45 am |
    • Wzrd1

      Survivor, WHERE did you hear anything about a loudspeaker with a call to prayer? There was nothing in ANY of the permit applications for the Islamic Center. And if you forgot, zoning requires a permit for loudspeakers that can be heard from a distance beyond the property.
      Polygamy is NOT prohibited in the Constitution. Try reading it some time, I have. Marriage is not even mentioned in the constitution, as THAT is a state issue, not a federal one. Hence you get your marriage license from the STATE, not the federal government.
      While we're at Islam and marriage, the Quran actually recommends against polygamy if one cannot afford to treat each wife equally (meaning EACH one gets a house like the other) or cannot treat them equally in marital matters. MOST Muslims DO only have one wife, which they consider a blessing in two ways. One, it's cheaper. Two, it's FAR more peaceful.
      Try actually learning facts instead of promulgating nonsense.

      September 11, 2010 at 9:11 am |
    • Sunny

      For me the building of the commercial blocks is more important than the building of the memorials. The lunatics on Sep 11 hit at the capitalistic icons of America that made it the richest and most powerful country in the history of the world. Rebuilding of the commercial blocks will represent the resonance of freedom that America guarantees for anyone who wants to work for a better future.

      September 11, 2010 at 11:08 am |
    • Shange

      It isn't so much 'socially' sacred as it's 'politically' sacred.

      That's the sad part. We should rebuild the twin towers, taller, with pride.

      The nine year quagmire that has produced NOTHING but an organized hole in the ground they could've built thrice over in time what it took to build the first twp back in the late 60's. That just shows how unproductive to the world and meally mouthed we've become.

      No my friends well before 9-11, we staled our genius for being a 'great' nation.

      September 11, 2010 at 11:10 am |
    • alanjay1

      9/11 Survivior: Please cite your source that there will be a call to prayer from the Islamic cultural center. I have heard no such thing mentioned until now.

      Most Muslims don't believe you become a martyr by killing yourself and taking down a bunch of innocents with you. You become a martyr if you are killed by someone else because of your faith, not in aggression. The hijackers were murderers, which by definition makes them not devout Muslims, the same as it would be hard to murder someone as a Christian, and then claim that I'm being devout.

      You're right, some crazy people will view the cultural center as a shrine to the hijackers. Who cares. Guess what, those same people will view holes where the twin tower stood as a shrine to the hijackers anyway. They will probably view the beautiful park/memorial that will be built there the same way. But anyone who would memorialize mass murderers is nuts anyway, so I couldn't care less how they conceptualize a particular space or building.

      I don't see what polygamy has to do with anything. Are you aware that Judaism and some Christian sects also permit polygamy? Your argument is moot, even if the topic of polygamy was in any way relevant.

      The time has come to stop blaming every Muslim for 9/11. This full out fear of Muslim conspiracy is scarily reminiscent to me of the antisemitism that led to unspeakable atrocities in Europe. Stop letting the actions of a small group of people color your view of a 1+ billion person religion, whose adherents come from hundreds of different cultures, traditions, and belief systems.

      In fact, maybe it's time to start looking at what role WE as American's played in setting up a geopolitical culture where groups like Al Qaeda can convince people that we are the Evil Empire. I'm not saying that anyone bears direct blame for the attacks but the psychos that planned them, but I am saying that things we do can make events like 9/11 more or less likely. I take it you would say the action we should take is to eliminate Islam from our society, but I posit that the answer is mutual understanding, not aggression and discrimination.

      September 11, 2010 at 11:28 am |
    • k9ranger

      After having served at Ground Zero for 6 weeks with k9 Search Rescue and having seen the carange and loss of life.I feel that this mosque should be moved and NOT left as a reminder of this attack.These people Muslims want to make a statemnet and for us all to remember,that their people brought this building and killed all our people...The Govt should step in and block this Mosque at this location..........Its like saying "we brought these buildings down,and you'll always remember US"..

      September 11, 2010 at 11:30 am |
    • Alan

      k9ranger: Will the pain of 9/11 go to go away just because there is no mosque? Of course not. Ground Zero will always be a reminder to Americans of one of our country's most tragic events. Mosque or not, it will always represent to a small number of psychopaths and their supporters of the day they stuck it to the Evil Empire. So let's stop pretending that having a mosque there is really going to change that.

      September 13, 2010 at 3:49 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.