Orthodox patriarch blesses shrine near 9/11 memorial

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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople gave his formal blessing Tuesday to an ornate shrine that will replace a small parish church destroyed during September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City. 

Bartholomew of Constantinople presided at a ceremonial door opening at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine near the World Trade Center.

“It’s been so many years, 20 years, and St. Nicholas means a lot to us and to all of the world,” worshipper Effie Doscas said.

“It’s an incredible resurrection, as the patriarch said,” worshipper George Yancopoulos said. “And St. Nicholas means victory of the people over death.”

The attacks on 9/11 and the ensuing collapse of the twin towers buried the church in a mountain of steel and concrete. It was the only house of worship destroyed on that dark and dreadful day, and what followed was a two-decade mission to recover and rebuild a home — not just for Greek Orthodox Christians — but for everyone.

“I’m just so grateful for all the people who made this happen,” worshipper Susie Spanos said. “A lot of work. A lot of work went into this.”

Source: Washington Post

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