October 14th, 2011
04:08 PM ET
Agreement signed to rebuild church at ground zero
By Dan Merica, CNN
(CNN) - A decade after the 9/11 attacks, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America agreed Friday to rebuild the destroyed St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan.
The agreement stipulates that the church be rebuilt near the original site with slight modifications to the archdiocese's desired plans, the most noticeable being a nondenominational bereavement center at the east end of the structure.
“Rebuilding St. Nicholas Church, with a nondenominational bereavement center, is not just good news for the Greek Orthodox community, but for all New Yorkers,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “With this agreement, we are continuing New York’s collective healing, restoration and resurgence.”
The plan comes after a four-month study that concluded building the church at 130 Liberty St. would significantly reduce the cost and have no impact on the reconstruction schedule of the new World Trade Center.
“Our pledge is to be a witness for all New Yorkers, that freedom of conscience and the fundamental human right of free religious expression will always shine forth in the resurrected St. Nicholas Church,” Archbishop Demetrios said in a release about the agreement.
The church has been in Lower Manhattan for 85 years and was founded by Greek immigrants. The congregation of about 70 families pledged to rebuild the church after the structure was engulfed in debris and flames on 9/11.
Until Friday’s announcement, however, no real progress had been made.
In 2008, both sides tentatively agreed the church would be built near the original site, using millions of dollars in taxpayer money. But the following year, the Port Authority said the church made extra demands that threatened the construction.
According to Stephen Sigmund, a Port Authority spokesman, the issue in 2009 was 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."
Reprentatives from St. Nicholas told a different story at the time though.
"In our perspective, they walked away," Peter Drakoulias, an executive member of the church board, said in 2010.
To broker a deal, the leaders of the archdiocese reached out to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“In 2009, Archbishop Demetrios sought my help in convening the Port Authority and state leadership to work on a solution, and I was glad to be of assistance,” Bloomber said in statement Friday. “Now, thanks to cooperation between all parties, a plan has been put in place that will give the community a new sanctuary and place for healing.”
As part of the new agreement, the church has agreed to swap its 155 Cedar St. land, the plot of the original church, with the land rights to the new church on Liberty Street. The Port Authority will now be responsible for all below-ground construction costs, while the archdiocese will pay for all costs related to above-ground construction.
Representatives of the Port Authority and Greek Orthodox Archdiocese signed the agreement Friday. The Port Authority board must now approve the final agreement, and upon doing so, all litigation between the archdiocese and the Port Authority will be terminated.
CNN's Eric Marrapodi, Mary Snow and Alexia Mena contributed to this report.
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About this blog
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.
Sigh.. man is a wishful being, isn't he..
– Some people wish for the man in the sky to come down and save them – But not work on their own problems
– Some people wish that the others would shut up and start fending for themselves – but they never seem to shut themselves up
– Some people wish there was a man in the sky who would come down and solve their problems – but never seem answer why he should help them
Come on people, this church was destroyed on 9/11 there is no reason not to rebuild, it will be near ground zero, but not on it. They also can"t rebuild where the new World Trade Center will be.
I for one welcome our new old overlords!
Xenu is returning?
Thank god. He's had my EZ-Bake Oven for 75,000 years!
I laughed, Bearer.
It does seem a bit ironic, rebuilding a monument to faith-based thinking that was destroyed as a result of faith-based thinking.
How about we take the beams from the WTC and the bricks from the church and build the Center for the Advancement of Critical Thinking and Evidence-Based Belief?
how about both? there is a scientific world and a spiritual one and they can exist together. The Greek Orthodox church does not scoff at science.
Using taxpayer money to rebuild a church violates separation of church and state. Fortunately, at the current pace of rebuilding at Ground Zero it probably won't be done this century.
realworld, I am greek orthodox and you out of all the people who are against this actually made an argument that makes sense. Thank you for not spouting out untrue statements. I would help donate to rebulid this church.
@Real world- I don't think it does violate the separation of state and church. The govt isn't building it because it sponsors Greek Orthodox Christianity over any other faith no more than would be sponsoring any business that the govt is going to help rebuild.
The question should be more about whether the govt should be helping rebuild anything that was destroyed on 9/11
Sorry mmyway, mormons are christian. Or to be more specific, members of the CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS are Christian. I think that part about JESUS CHRIST might be a small clue. If you were to follow the evangelical definition of what makes a Christian then technically Catholics are not Christian. Some might want to let the pope know he is not Christian...........
They are the ones with the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jesus.
We gotta stop the church at Ground Zero!
IT'S A SACRED PLACE AND FUNDAMENTAL TERRORIST RELIGIONS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED!!!!
I'm with Kyle
This is not a fundamentalist religion. It believes in science. It does not espouse violence to others.
you do realize this church was destroyed on 9/11. It should be rebuilt, They have just as much right as the new World Trade Center, they plan on building.
it is definitely a cult. The definition is that it is based on one person and their beliefs, which it does in Joseph Smith. It also states it has some strange beliefs. Mormons believe in a bible other than the Christian bible, the book of Mormon. The plates to translate the book were supposedly received by Joseph Smith from an angel appearing to him in the U.S. He translated them by putting them in a hat and looking through a seer stone. They believe that God had relations with Mary to create Jesus. They believe that Christianity had to be restored by Joseph Smith and his Book of Mormon and three other texts they use in their faith. In no way is it Christian as they have a way different view of Christ and God than Christians do from the bible. They believe people have to become gods to get to heaven themselves. None of these things is ok in the christian religion. So it is what it is. I would think one should really look into what they believe before you vote for someone who is Mormon. We have to evaluate their ability to discern truth from fiction, especially as president in dealing with foreign nations
Any church that has no clear path to the Apostles are 'Cults.' This also includes all the 'Evangelical' religions. The only true church is the Orthodox church.
Bear, check again. By definition, all religions are in fact, cults.
this has no basis in reality. it is not a cult. this religion does not scoff at science or scientists. it's a mistake to generalize.
It is a GREEK ORTHODOX Church, not MORMON, moron.
Definition of a cult:
a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
This is now a sweeping generalization, nor does it imply that a cult (religion) denies science. Cult is a word. It's not a knife. It's not going to stab anyone. It's nothing more than a word that states what is, is.
@GoToCollegeGetDrunkEatChickenFingers- odd that no one uses the term cult like they do religion. If they are exactly the same...why don't atheists use the term cult all the time instead of religion? There must be a reason right?
Both cult and religion are equal. I see no difference. I look at it like this; Some call the ocean the open sea. Sea and ocean are synonymous and interchangeable, just as cult and religion are. Generally speaking, the term cult is used by the religious as negative terminology describing anything they deem satanic. On the flipside, the non-religious use it negatively to describe many religions.
Either way, as I see it, it is only a word. Believers can argue against it all they want, but it is nothing more than that. There are bigger problems in the world. There's no point in wasting time being offended by the definition of what religion is.
but what kind of dialogue can be attained if one side uses obvious terminology that the other side dislikes? It would be like the US going to talk with an arab nation and referring to them as camel-jockies..all the time. It's rude and closes so many doors and possiblities.
There will never be a healthy dialogue between Atheists and the religious. Sure, we can chat. But realistically there won't ever be a solid common ground. This is not to say we are sworn enemies, rather a belief system vs. no belief system will always generate a kind of friction that will not go away. It is the same reason political parties create so much drama and hatred.
I have to disagree with you on that. I have many friends and relatives that are atheists or religious. I get along just fine with each equally.
I don't have a problem with this – but I didn't have a problem with the Islamic Center being built either.
I am in agreement, too.
I seriously want to protest against this church. Until a mosque can be built, no foreign centric religion should resurface in New York. This is America, and if that church does not have a food court then they can just "geeeeet outttt". And Zeus, not Ze-sus, can apply for a job to serve fries if he has a green card.
Fail! St. Nicholas Church was there since the early 1900s. At this location, full liturgy was held their since 1922...
Dude: U need to lay off that pot for a while.
"re surface" was used to illustrate that religion should not be classified into an acceptable or non-acceptable form of construction anwhere, reguardless of how long they have been there. Maby before 1787, I'll allow them to be grandfathered then.
Um Kevin, hate to break it to you bro, but there were several churches on this street WAY before the WTC was even envisoned... why dont you type in Little Syria into google and learn something..
Kevin, who the f are you again? Oh that's right no body.
OH OH OH, and the food court reference that no one picked up was the fact that the only contribution to religion America has made is Supersize it, and figure out a way to make you fatter. And how Christ like of you SI. Thank you for responding to something from nobody.
Sabra and Shatila massacre
Yea.. Christianity is the most peaceful religion of all.. they just don't do a blast and kill a dozen or so.. they outright massacre them in hundreds and thousands.. peaceful and helpful to humanity? ah the joke!
Thou shall not kill!
If people or rulers did whatever they did it was never backed up by the scriptures! On the other hand I can provide you with countless koranic passages thta not only sanction but urges "believers' to kill!
Muslima liar or leftist sumbag that's what you are!
Since you quote the old testement on this, don't start arguing that your make-believe scriptures just follow the new testement. So, here are a few examples of your "thou shalt not kill" rule from your own scriptures..
– Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)
– If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives." (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)
– Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)
– If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10
– A priest's daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)
– They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)
– Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and posses the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants. (Isaiah 14:21 NAB)
– If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, "You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord." When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through. (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)
peep.. peep... hypocrisy alert! all abrahamic religous books have enough murder in them that they could curl your grandmother's hair in disgust. Don't just say things you heard in your church from someone who WANTS to propagate his own agenda.. try to think for yourself once in a while.
The only difference between you and muslims is they follow a book that's 1400 yrs old and you follow the series of books in which the newest one is 2000 yrs old
@ok so....no they don't. show otherwise.
Umm sara.. I know you are a fairytale believing, "I am closer to go so I understand logic when there is none" kinda person.. but what exactly are you asking to show otherwise?
ummm...good guessing snow. Pity you are incorrect. I just wanted them to show that "all abrahamic religous books have enough murder in them that they could curl your grandmother's hair in disgust." I disagreed and asked them to show otherwise. Are you caught up now?
You mean you did not read all the little passages that the poster above you has written? They not enough murder? or are they just those passing thoughts to not give much thought about?
I know that the mandatory part of your fairytale believing thingy is to selectively read only those parts that suit you.. but really? you didn't see a few lines above the facts you were questioning?
So they're going to rebuild the playhouse that was originally destroyed as a result of the attacks? I don't see anything wrong with that. I'm glad that they didn't give into the pressure (litigation) to "rebuild" the church 6X the size of the original at another site. That's just greedy on the part of the church – no big surprise, pretty much expected that one.
So what about the tax dollars? In the article it says its going to be used for the below ground construction not the actual building, right? I don't think its fair or right to use tax money to build a church building obviously.
I agree. Why should taxpayers have to pay to rebuild the church?
Because the church doesn't pay taxes to rebuild itself. Pretty good deal, right? I've been thinking about starting my own religion. I will be the leader of this cult, and my official name shall forever henceforth be: "Bearer of Bad News."
I like it!
Tax-payers money is sent to Afghanistan to destroy Bibles and churches. Your money is given to the Egyptian army to wage genocide on Coptic Christians.
Muslims in Afghanistan wrap drugs in pages of the koran. God I love the smell of religion.
They should build a large hall of contemplation. Inside this Hall would be a chapel for each of the world's great religions and one for atheists. It should be a place where all could come together in peace to profess peace. More than Christians died on that terrible day.
This is not about being 'politically correct!' St. Nicholas Church was there since the early 1900s. At this location, full liturgy was held their since 1922...
I appreciate your sentiment.. but that's a horrible idea.
This is Victory church.
I couldn't agree more with LoganWon. You said it all.
I for one oppose the building of the Ground Zero Christian Mosque!
Mosque's are not Christian.
Yea, Mosques are houses of devil
I am Greek Orthodox. This is a great religion and a community where americans and immigrants bound together as a second family. It is not a political religion in the US as far as I can tell. I cannot speak for Greece. The focus is on God and the community. I have nothing against any other religion, christian or otherwise, or atheists. Please do not denounce this religion as the cause of 9-11 or as a fairy tale. I do not denounce you. Even if you don't believe in God, the lessons taught in this church and the support the congregation give to each other is very real.
Community, charity and love for our fellow human beings can all be done without the divisiveness of religion and worship of any god. You're only sharing these experiences with like-minded people are your church and separating yourself from everyone else based on the demands of ancient books. It's pointless.
you really don't know me and are making assumptions. you are right that we can do these things without God but I chose to do them with God. Being focused on God is supposed to be a loving experience but people are flawed and it isn't always. I understand that. I have a very diverse set of friends from many religions including many atheist friends and am from a very diverse area of the country. I listen to a lot of ideas. Plus I am very well educated in a scientific field. Please don't assume you understand me. A lot of people who don't understand this religion are spouting out ideas and making generalizations. I just wanted to explain my point of view.
I should add that my comment applies to all religions – including yours. I should have worded my comment differently.
"Christianity has helped more people than it has hurt" HAHAHAHAHA, study history, dummy and you'll find that quite the oppostie is true. Wow, just, wow.
How Christianity has actually helped anyone... not to be confused with the charity done by christians which is also done by every other religion and by the non-religious... is nebulous at best. The harm it has done and the harm done by its followers is unquestionable.
Can I please see some data regarding that? Currently there are an estimated 2.1 billion Christians in the world, not counting those who have died, who were Christian. How many people have been killed DIRECTLY because of Christianity (not a Christian ruler, but as a cause of the religion itself)?
Atheists have killed more people in the last 100 years than ALL the killings in the name of religion put in history.
Christian charities have been at the forefront of every international Aid effort for donkeys years.
Now who's the dummy, Muppet!
"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."–Adolph Hitler.
Granted that Hitler's worldview was pretty whacked but he still considered himself a good Catholic and used Christianity as the inspiration for his antisemitism. NAZI's used Martin Luther's book "On the Jews and their LIes" for propoganda..
Of course Christians will howl that Hitler was not a "real Christian." If Christians can use this defense than surely Muslims can say that terrorists are not "true Muslims."
I think before continuing this insanity, something needs to be addressed here. Religion is responsible for more deaths than atheism, period. By default, atheism stands for nothing. So now, what you have to start looking at is WHY people have been killed since humans evolved and group each reason accordingly. Atheism is not an ideology, therefore nothing can ever truly be done in the name of it. Regardless of motives, the champion here is Christianity. It thrived on not only killing, but torturing and maiming people for fun. All in the name of jesus.
With this in mind, you really need to look at what causes people to kill. I believe that answer is quite simple. Those that have done so, have simply make the conscious decision to cross that line. Those who kill in the name of jesus, god or George Carlin aren't necessarily killing because of them. Instead, they merely use this as an excuse to do so. I'm sure if you gave a serial killer some kind of ideology to follow, he'd use that to justify murder. If he didn't have it, he'd go out for a killing anyway.
@Credenza: Atheist killers? Marx, Lenin and Trotsky were Jews. Hitler, Mussolini and Franco were catholic. Stalin was eastern orthodox christian
@ Bearer of Bad News – Try looking up St@lin – that'll give you millions to start. If a Catholic publicly commits genocide they become APOSTATE which I said. They place themselves outside the Church freely and voluntarily. H, S AND Musso did this.
If I did what they had I could call myself St Peter – It wouldn't make me a Catholic. ALL Communists are Atheists by choice and belief. Don't twist the facts – they were murdering Atheists !!!!!!!!
People who resort to picking out spellings usually have nothing to offer! BTW – The comment I was answering was that religion has killed more than any wars – did you bother to read it???? No Smart A$$ of course you didn't.
Atheists have killed more people in the last 100 years than ALL the killings in the name of religion put in history.
Christian charities have been at the forefront of every international Aid effort for donkeys years.
Now who's the dummy, Muppet!"
Proof of this fact please. I'm not expecting that to happen considering you can't provide it, however it is noted that most wars are religious based and anyone not blind knows that. Atheists don't cause wars or go out and ma.ss kill in the name of belief.
Numerous secular charities at are the forefront actually doing something useful and not just handing out bibles or praying for the people. A list of some of those secular charities:
American Civil Liberties Union; Amnesty International, DefCon: Campaign to Defend the Consti.tution;Doctors without Borders; DonorsChoose.org; EWB-USA.org; Kiva.org; Oxfam International; The Nature Conservancy; Population Connection; Rotary/Rotary International; The SEED foundation; S.H.A.R.E.; The Union of Concerned Scientists; United Nations Children's Fund; Wheelchair Foundation
Now to answer you as to who the dummy is: you are..PUPPET!
Next time you wish to attack Atheists, you best ensure you have your facts straight or be prepared to have logic thrown at you.
Yes, because it's important that we build a structure representing magic and make-believe. I can't believe that in the 21st century there are still people who believe that there is a magical man in the sky looking over us. Perhaps they should ask themselves, "Why would 'God' allow terrorists to murder thousands of innocent people?" What a wonderful deity you're worshiping (eyes rolling). Why would anyone embrace Bronze Age thinking? Go to school, people, take a few science courses and stop living in ignorance.
JPX. My degree is an MIS. And yours?
It would be nice if people like you just put your differences aside and agree to disagree on what people believe in. You don't have to emphasize words like "fairy in the sky" and what ever non-believers believe or don't believe in. I get it, you don't believe but you don't have to publicly bash people who do.
Piling on, I have a B.S. and an M.A., have worked in biophysics and interned with JPL, and have a deep faith in God. But my own arrogance and assumption that I could figure all the answers out myself did block me from God for a long period of my life.
"JPX. My degree is an MIS. And yours?" PhD. Go back to school, you are still ignorant.
It is ridiculous JPX. The next step in human evolution will be when we recognize religion as being a mental disorder. It's all nice to think about some kind of after-life but the fact is you people are out of your minds.
The structure does not represent magic and make-believe, rather it represents a deep faith in God that obviously escapes you. I am a practicing agnostic (a thing which is not easy to do and which requires much study and research) yet I have no problem with the building of the church. I visit churches all the time, finding solace and quietude that aid me when I grieve for my dear wife of 52 years. I do not pray, but perhaps God, if He exists, will some day touch me in some way and then I will know the unknowable.
If I ever get to New York, I will visit this new church.
"My degree is an MIS"
As in MISinformed.
God isn't a man nor is "he" sitting in the sky..... nor is he/it a person at all. Its the collective consciousness that we're all a part of.
You won't know for sure until you're dead and then it will be too late.
Don't you think "fairy stories"; "imaginary friends" and "magic man in the sky" are a bit hackneyed?????
God didn't ALLOW terrorists to kill thousands. He gave men unconditional free will. If they kill, they answer to God.
By blaming God for man's evil acts:
# You are saying that all men are robots with no control over their actions
# You're letting perpetrators off the hook – which is a cop-out
# You're admitting that [despite your degree] you have no intellect of your own.
God didn't say – "you have free will you can do as you like!
He said – you have free will and 10 guidelines [commandments]. Use them and you'll be fine>>>>>>abuse them and answer to the Father.
The Commandments can't be all bad. Civil laws are based on them.
If you kill yuour wife – you can't say yto the judge "god made me do it " can you? You're not as clever as you think you are!!!!
You drone on [again!] about the fact that this is the 21st century. Two things – one from another 21st century Pratt and one from me in response:
Smart Alec says – "Belief in gravity and dark matter is not faith – we can see it's effects; measure it repeatedly; understand the way it works even if we don't understand it's underlying mechanisms."
I say: Presumably, smart Alec has faith in his own belief in what he said.
But that's no different to believing in God. We can see nature; seasons; miracles of birth; individual fingerprints and DNA for each individual; healing that can't be explained scientifically. We can measure growth and development.
WE don't understand the underlying mechanisms either, but we have faith in our belief – GOD
I've taken more than a few college science courses and each time I am reminded the words that Johannes Kepler wrote to his daughter just after he finished writting his 1619 paper in which he published his third law of planetary motion, the paper in which he fully explained the motion of the planets, "How pleased God must be that someone has finally figured this out."
What I have learned in all of my college science classes is that it is painfully obvious to anyone who will look that we live in a universe which was designed. Chance simply does not create the order and structure that is all around us, only design does.
"HELP – I feel like my CIS/MIS degree is worthless "
That's because it is!
Hey Credenza, you said that god gave men unconditional free will. Then I ask, what is the point of prayer? Divine intervention is in fact a violation of unconditional free will.
Also, which set of 10 commandments does civil law draw from? God allegedly wrote two sets, I'm just curious to know which one is which. After all, the god of the bible promised the same set of commandments after Moses destroyed the first set on a coke binge. But then he wrote another. And what is it about this whole promise breaking thing god and jesus like to do? They MUST be related, because they both enjoy breaking promises.
Back to this free will thing. Let's say your god is real. I'll play along. He knows all things. He knew you before you were born. He knows when you will die. He is omnipotent and omnipresent. But wait, if he knows all things, knows what's going to happen since he is after all the alpha and omega, then how could you possibly have free will if he already knows what you're going to do? Your destiny is already in place.
Christianity has helped more people than it has hurt. Christian churches have fed hundreds of thousands of people, clothed them, and healed their wounds. Main stream Christian churches have doen alot wrong, like believing there is a Hell, read the bible, "every knee shall bow, every tongue confess". Jesus will save all of mankind; even Hitler. No evil is more powerful than the God that created everythingl, Yes God created evil and he will vanquish it also.
More people have died in the name of your imaginary "god" than all of the wars combined. Nothing is scary than people who base their decisions on make-believe (see: George Bush).
"Christianity" doesn't help anybody. People do. Their religion isn't relevant. But in my opinion – people doing something to impress their God is less heart felt and sincere than people doing it purely out of the goodness of their heart and expecting no reward.
And, your God is a Hitler sympathizer?
@ JPX – I thought you were showing off about having a degree???? You don't know much do you?
What a stupid statement. "Religion has killed more people than all the wars put together"????? No, Muppet.
Atheists have killed more people in the last 100 years than ALL the religious wars in the history of mankind – FACT!
I'll bodge the names to get by the thought police at CNN;
St@lin, Len1n, Mar><, Zhou-Enle1, Muss0lini, Tr0tsky, H1tler, [He was not Catholic – he was an apostate and practised the black arts], K1m -1L-Sung, H0-Ch1-Minh, T1TO, Ceause$cu, Krusch3v, M0a-T$e-Tung, P0l-p0t
Please get an education before you put didt to keyboard. You're a disgrace to yor college.
Credenza, please prove this "fact" you claim. And remember, atheism stands for nothing. By default, killing in the name of religion FAR outweighs killing in the name of atheism. One can't kill in the name of something if they stand for nothing.
By the way, can you try running a spell check when you post? That would be fantastic!