At 2 PM on Sunday, December 5, 2010, the congregation of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church gathered at Ground Zero.
This was a Vesper Service for the Feast of St. Nicholas and nine years after the Twin Towers collapsed onto this tiny 80 years old church, it's a mystery WHY it remains un-built.
They still have no church to worship in as they did for 80 years.
As we arrived and were being permitted to enter the Ground Zero construction area, the media was being told NO Cameras. No filming was going to be allowed for 'security' reasons! Some of the press was packing up their tripods and cameras. Wonder if some of the left? I was very surprised (as was everyone) at this restrictions. About 15 minutes later, little by little, the word began to spread that only SOME people could film (the diocese could) But, that too was still ridiculous since this was an event to which the media was invited. Another 10 minutes or so everyone started filming, so I figured that meant me, too. But, never was there a formal "Go" just a sort of whispered...I guess we can film now....
The children of St. Nicholas carried precious artifacts that were damaged yet miraculously survived on that horrific day:A splintered wooden icon, a tattered altar cloth, a crushed silver bowl, a twisted candelabra, a VERY bent brass bell, mangled candles and a liturgical book.
The vespers service last about 45 minutes. This is excerpts from the service with the complete homily from His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrious, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.
There was a large turnout by the congregation and media. However, it wasn't clear who the other reporters were other than a reporter from The Daily News who identified herself and you will see City Comptroller, John Liu in the crowd. Since he's been a very vocal supporter of The Ground Zero Mosque and supports the use of city loans and grants for said mosque, what about St. Nicholas? Will he go on record in giving the same support to the rebuilding of the church? Will he support it financially, too?
Regarding it location, I was told the church (whenever it is permitted to rebuild) will not be at its original location, but just east of that lot. Which can be see a few times in the back ground of the video.
I'm sorry there is distracting motion during the Archbishops homily. Without the tripod I was getting tired and fighting the sun. It's only a few times. And his homily is worth listening to for what he said in front of City Comptroller, JohnLiu, describing the Church of St. Nicholas in Ground Zero Mosque Community Center terms. It's outrageous that we haven't heard enough, barely anything really, from the Mayor and his minions regarding the Church of St. Nicholas. But, since The city is falling all over itself to build a mosque in a clothing store and stonewalls a church that was in that location for 80 years, it seems more than a bit sad that they feel they must also be a 'community center'.
Support for St. Nicholas. Simon Deng was there (of course)
This should be a huge a story but the media coverage was low-key to nothing. Its up to us to make St. Nicholas a priority.
Slideshow of a few pictures
And as I walked to the subway, a patriot...