#REBUILDMYCHURCH

Frequently Asked Questions about Saint Nicholas National Shrine at the World Trade Center

Why is it important to rebuild Saint Nicholas?

"REBUILD MY CHURCH”

These words of our Lord Jesus Christ have been the inspiration to rebuild the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the only house of worship destroyed on 9/11, since that fateful day twenty years ago. But it would be rebuilt as more than the humble Greek Orthodox Church of lower Manhattan; it is being rebuilt as a National Shrine and place of pilgrimage for our Nation. And in accordance with the word of the Lord, it will be a House of Prayer for all people (Mark 11:17).

Once rebuilt, Saint Nicholas, like the Parthenon that graces the Acropolis, has the potential to inspire millions for generations to come. The parish will continue to function as a parish of the Archdiocese and it will also be a National Shrine on hallowed ground. It will shine as a spiritual beacon of hope and rebirth to cherish the memory of those who were lost that fateful day and to build a better future for generations yet to be born.

Why did Saint Nicholas become a National Shrine?

Once rebuilt, Saint Nicholas, like the Parthenon that graces the Acropolis, has the potential to inspire millions for generations to come. The parish will continue to function as a parish of the Archdiocese and it will also be a National Shrine on hallowed ground. It will shine as a spiritual beacon of hope and rebirth to cherish the memory of those who were lost that fateful day and to build a better future for generations yet to be born.

What is the mission of Saint Nicholas National Shrine?

As a Greek Orthodox Parish, Saint Nicholas will offer the full cycle of services. As a welcoming haven of spiritual wealth and health, the Church building – the nave, narthex, and the bereavement space – will be a vital and indeed necessary component of the new World Trade Center.

It will also be a National Shrine for all who come into its warm embrace. The scope of its mission will span the globe, as literally millions of visitors to the September 11th Memorial and Museum will also visit Saint Nicholas. This expanded mission of Saint Nicholas as a National Shrine of the Greek Orthodox Church of America is commensurate with its presence at the epicenter of history that defines the twenty-first century. In reality, it will not be just a national shrine, but also an international shrine. It will show the will of all people to rebuild and resurrect from the ashes of 9/11. This will be a church for all to light a candle for the beloved that were lost on September 11th. It will be a Greek Orthodox National Shrine on Hallowed, Sacred Ground.

What is the interfaith component of Saint Nicholas National Shrine?

As a witness to the boundless Love of God, which triumphs over violence and hatred, a special, interfaith and non-sectarian space has been dedicated for peaceful reflection and meditation to be used by people of all faiths and beliefs. The entire structure, including the nave, bereavement space (2nd floor) and social hall (3rd floor) will have programs of remembrance designed specifically for the surviving family members, inter-religious educational programs, cultural events and an integrated synergistic overall program of activities, exhibitions, etc. that are commensurate with the dignity and solemnity of the site. The inclusivity of the bereavement space within the structure that houses a particular house of worship signals the American democratic and religious ideal that the practice of one's own beliefs in no way hinders the beliefs of another. In fact, quite the opposite, it welcomes the belief of another. Thus the bereavement space is non-denominational and truly interfaith.

What was the process for choosing an architect to design Saint Nicholas National Shrine?

A special committee was formed which included both lay and clergy leaders of the Archdiocese, as well as academic experts in church architecture, to interview a select group of firms with international reputations for excellence.

In the end there was an overwhelming consensus by the committee in favor of the design and expertise of Santiago Calatrava. Calatrava developed his plan from a wealth of Byzantine precedents, including the famous monastery of Chora and the Church of Hagia Sophia itself.

What is the overall project schedule?

Construction, which was interrupted in 2017, has re-commenced and the Thyranoixia, or “Opening of the Doors,” is expected to take place during the Fall of 2021.

How is the construction of Saint Nicholas National Shrine being financed?

The rebuilding of Saint Nicholas is being funded through “The Friends of St. Nicholas", a separate non-profit 501(c)3 that has raised the funds to complete the construction. Individual donations are welcome, and every donation will be permanently recorded in the Church.

How much money has already been raised?

Total contributions since September 11, 2001 are approximately $85 Million.

What sources have contributed major funding for the project?

Saint Nicholas has received major gifts from around the world. The Greek Government contributed approximately $260,000 in 2002. The Greek people, through contributions collected in Greece and through telethons, contributed approximately $375,000. In addition, the rebuilding of Saint Nicholas National Shrine has been an international effort, with countries and organizations spanning the globe contributing to this worthy cause. These include, amongst others, the City of Bari, Italy and the Embassy of the State of Qatar, as well as interfaith organizations from around the country such as The American Jewish Committee, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston. There are also Archdiocesan commitments from the National Philoptochos, Leadership 100, AHEPA, the Metropolises, Parishes and major donors around the country.

How have civil authorities supported the building of Saint Nicholas National Shrine?

In addition to the land exchange of 130 Liberty Street for 155 Cedar Street, which increased the footprint of the Church fourfold, the Port Authority constructed the base of the Church, which is the top of the helix over the Vehicle Security Center.

Did the Parish receive any insurance compensation?

1.2 million dollars in insurance compensation was received after 9/11, and these funds are being used for the construction of the new church.

Once complete, what is the estimated annual operating budget of Saint Nicholas National Shrine?

The annual operating budget is not yet finalized, but will incorporate the realities of running a facility of this magnitude of scope.  The expected source of revenue is a combination of an endowment, membership contributions, visitor contributions, and major gifts.

How will the faithful and the general public be able to visit Saint Nicholas National Shrine?

The Shrine will be accessible directly from Liberty Park walking and from Liberty Street by an elevator.

How can I contribute to the rebuilding of Saint Nicholas?

All donations will be permanently recorded in the Church. Contributions can be made easily and securely:

by credit card on our online donation webpage: https://22840.monksites.com/contribute/

or by sending a contribution via check to:

Friends of St. Nicholas
8 East 79th Street
New York, NY 10075

In addition, you are asked to contribute to the rebuilding process through your prayers and by spreading the good news with others.