Construction on the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Lower Manhattan, New York, has resumed after the church was destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001.
The historic building is being reconstructed for both the church and the local community.
“It’s going to be a place where people can say, for the next thousand years, we will never forget what happened here,” John Catsimatidis, CEO of Gristedes Foods and a board member of The Friends of St. Nicholas, told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday.
“It’s going to be good for New York. We’re going to have three million visitors a year, and it’s a place for people to come and pray.
The Friends of St. Nicholas was formed in January of this year to help restart the project, Fox News reported.
The construction was previously delayed by mismanagement and scandal, Father Alex Karloutsos of the Greek Orthodox Church of America told “Fox & Friends.”
“This is going to be a light on the hill,” Karloutsos said.
The original church, named for the patron saint of sailors, opened in 1916 and became a stopping point for Greek immigrants after they left Ellis Island.
The church stood for 85 years until the South Tower of the World Trade Center was destroyed.
“In 2001, it became a historical place because of now, we have 3,000 people that lost their lives — victims and heroes — and we need to have a sense of hope, we need to look to light, in the midst of all this darkness,” Karloutsos said.
He added that there will be a bereavement space for people to gather and reflect on what happened nearly 20 years ago.
“This is all about New York. This is all about America,” Karloutsos said.
Father Evagoras Constantinides, a spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, told “Fox & Friends First” that the “church is the last piece that will bring a sense of solidarity to the visitor” of the 9/11 Memorial.
“That place of peace is coming back with the finishing and reopening of St. Nicholas next year,” he said.
Karloutsos said that the importance of “religious freedom” in America is shown through Turkey’s decision to convert the Hagia Sophia, which was first built as a Greek Orthodox Church, back into a mosque after it was a museum.
“Here in this country, religious freedoms, what we stand for as a country, the land of the free, the home of the brave, the First Amendment of the United States, glory be to God, Saint Nicholas is going to reflect the best of our Orthodox faith, but the best of America,” he said.
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