George Patsourakos: Get St. Nicholas rebuilt!

“New York state and its Port Authority officials need to hang their heads in shame,” says George Patsourakos, on his blog Theology and Society. Patsourakos, a regular commentator on the AOI blog writes:

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center — attacks by extremist Muslims — resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans. Nevertheless, New York state and Port Authority officials are seriously considering building a mosque at this very site. To even consider having a mosque at this site shows a heartless and unsympathetic attitude and disrespect by these officials toward the innocent victims who were killed there on 9/11 by Muslim terrorists. Having a mosque at Ground Zero is a very similar situation to having a Nazi Monument next to the Holocaust Museum. Both of these ideas should be put to rest, because they are an insult to their victims.

Meanwhile, New York officials have shown little or no interest in rebuilding St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church — a 300-member church that was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks. The World Trade Center site’s owner says a deal to help rebuild St. Nicholas Church was offered and rejected by leaders of the church, over money and other issues.

Read the entire post on the Theology and Society blog.


  1. Holy Trinity?

  2. How amazing it would be if our entire Orthodox NYC area churches decided that in 14 days Liturgy would be held outside at Ground zero on the property of St. Nicholas and all the other churches within a do-able drive would be closed and all the clergy from deacon and higher able to stand would show up to preside.

    Now THAT would do a whole lot of good for everybody. It would provide media focus, it would provide inspiration, it would provide a platform for clarity and all manner of helpful opportunity.

    Or do we need permission from overseas old patriarchates to consider the matter at the next foriegn-control episcopal cementbly first? Or is this something the EP can order without having to check? Or, well, is it still okay to sneeze in English?

  3. Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

    As much as this needs to happen it won’t happen because the moral courage required to make it happen is not there. If the leaders equivocate on the foundational issues like the sanctity of life in the womb, they will equivocate on the tertiary issues that are built on those foundations. They may not even perceive anymore the real questions in play or the final ramifications when answered.

    I wish it were different but I have been waiting a long time. I’d like to be proven wrong but I don’t think I will be.

    • Fr. Hans: I know that old Archbishop Iakovos wouldn’t have missed this tremendous chance to rally positive energy. This is the fellow that saw a moment to balance the risks and to take them and so generate pride and respect lasting generations for marching with Martin L King in Selma.

      Can you imagine the support if ground zero got filled up with Orthodox and other folk who rally for the importance of getting the only flattened church rebuilt at ground zero? Any politician on the wrong side of that would quickly come to Jesus or remember a thing they ought to have done Nov 3rd. The media would be all over it and exactly what negative could they possibly say with all the pictures of the service to offer, people stepping on construction debris as they try to go where the altar once was.

      It would be the time to announce a behind-the-scenes deal to get the church built, it might just demonstrate whether moderate muslims want to prove they exist by contributing in a major way to rebuilding the church.

      Or, you know, they could produce a fellow with an incomprehensible title who looks like a black-cloth version of a native american battle chief minus the feathers miffing about being not being called back after all this time, woe the wee damsel pesky phones on the fritz again.

  4. Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

    Agreed Harry. Abp. Iakovos would have understood this completely, and he would have acted boldly and decisively — just like Selma. I’m coming to the conclusion that the last fifteen years, particularly the distraction of building a universal Church centered around Constantinople, will prove to be a debilitating long term loss for the GOA. It may take an entire generation to recover.

  5. George Michalopulos :

    Harry, I’ve been trying to grasp the reason for the apathy but you answered it for me. The loss of Iakovos was a tremendous blow in ways that we still haven’t tallied up yet. Of course Iakovos died about 6 years ago so the point would appear to be moot. Then again, had Ligonier proceeded to its logical conclusion, Iakovos might have been followed by an equally dynamic metropolitan, one who loved this land and its people.

    Fr Hans’ point can’t be discounted however. Other than the Holy Synod of the OCA, the absence of moral courage in the “American” episcopate is stunning. They at least have the courage to appear on the Mall every year with Catholic, Evangelical, and observant Jewish clergymen to fight for first principles. The rebuilding of St Nicholas is tertiary for sure, but it derives from a clear understanding of a correct anthropology, which you don’t exhibit if you don’t understand that the child in the womb is a human being.

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