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The small Greek Orthodox Church that still grapples with the aftermath of 9/11

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New Yorkers and tourists have been impressed with the progress in rebuilding Lower Manhattan in the 18 years since the September 11th attacks.

In the middle of that progress, some rebuilding has stalled. This site near the 911 Memorial Plaza is the future home of the new St. Nicholas Orthodox Greek Church and National Shrine.

The original church was destroyed on 9/11. The plan to rebuild it came to a halt two years ago because of financial problems.

“Your eminence. What a pleasure.”

Governor Cuomo now says the project will resume. He made that promise after meeting Thursday with the new head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church before it was destroyed in the Twin Tower attacks.

The Archbishop says the new church will be completed by September 11th 2021, 20 years after 911, when the original church was destroyed in the collapse of the World Trade Centre’s South tower.

The Archdiocese suspended the rebuilding in December 2017 amid questions about some of spending on the project. An independent investigation found no fraud and nothing improper.

On Thursday, the governor also announced that a new non-profit organisation with a 13-member board will oversee the remaining work.

“I think it will be a beautiful church, it will be open probably 24 hours a day,” said John Catsimatidis, of The Friends of St. Nicholas.

The church which is currently still under construction.

Grocery Store owner John Catsimatidis is on the panel. He’s been a part of the rebuilding project from the start. He says the archdiocese has spent $38 million so far, all of it from private donations. But he says new donations dried up when donors lost confidence in the project.

“Probably $18 million, $19 million went to professional fees, architects lawyers, accountants, crazy,” said Catsimatidis.

Catsimatidis says $30 million is needed to finish the work, and that with new leadership at the archdiocese restoring confidence in the project, raising the remaining money should not be a problem.

Construction is to resume this month. When it opens, the new church will be a place for all faiths to worship in an area that is considered by many to be hallowed ground.

“Not only are people going to pray but people are going to look at it and say it better never happen again,” said Catsimatidis.

Sourced via Spectrum News.

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