The Greek Orthodox Church at the World Trade Center has reopened for the first time since its destruction on 9/11


St. Nicholas Church in Lower Manhattan has reopened for the first time since 9/11.

The Greek Orthodox Church in the World Trade Center was destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The collapse of the south tower took the church with it, according to the St. Nicholas website.

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After more than two decades, the new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine opened its doors to the public this week.

On December 6, 2022, the first liturgy service celebrated the feast of St. Nicholas, the Associated Press reports.

Bishop Apostolos of Medea, right, participates in a service at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in New York City.
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The congregation is currently preparing to welcome members of all faiths who wish to remember and honor the victims of 9/11.

“Today is a happy day for America and New York,” Michael Psaros, chairman of the Friends of St. Nicholas, told the Associated Press.

“We invite all of America to come and visit the cenotaph, built and erected in memory of the 3,000 martyrs and victims of 9/11.”

Icons depicting 9/11 heroes and saints followed the New Testament Greek ceremony.

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Olga Pavlakos, vice president of the church council and a third-generation member of the St. Nicholas community, called it “the resurrection of St. Nicholas Church.”

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, right, sits near ground zero Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in New York City.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, right, sits near ground zero Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in New York City.
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The church was replaced by an elevated park overlooking the World Trade Center memorial square.

But the road to rebuilding the little church was not so smooth.

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After a groundbreaking ceremony in 2014, construction was halted in 2017 because the archdiocese fell behind on payments.

The aim was to reopen the church before the 20th anniversary of the attacks in 2021 after construction resumed in 2020 – but this target was not achieved.

One World Trade is shown, left, outside St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022.

One World Trade is shown, left, outside St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022.
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The original St. Nicholas Church was founded in 1916 in a small row house that had been used as a tavern, according to the church’s website.

It would become one of the first stops for many Greek immigrants after arriving from Ellis Island.

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The historic church witnessed decades of growth in Lower Manhattan’s financial district, and retained its foundation during the construction of the World Trade Center in the 1960s.

Smoke billows from the World Trade Center towers as St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church sits below the towers in New York's Financial District.

Smoke billows from the World Trade Center towers as St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church sits below the towers in New York’s Financial District.
(Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America via AP)

Generations of New Yorkers remember stopping to pray, light a candle or observe a moment of silence, according to the church.

On the day of the attacks, some Greek Orthodox Christians reportedly attacked the church’s visuals.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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