A church that had been crushed at Ground Zero by the toppling South Tower during the 9/11 terrorist attacks was resurrected on the 4th of July through a consecration service.
Over 1,500 people attended the consecration service of Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on Monday morning in Manhattan, New York, reported local news outlet ABC7NY. The consecration included a procession, the sealing of holy relics (in this case, belonging to Saint Nicholas), the washing and anointing of the altar table, vesting, and anointment of the church itself. Biblical elements are taken from scripture including the Tabernacle and Temple of Solomon. The service was broadcasted live on the church’s own website. The completion of the ceremony marked the reopening of the only house of worship that had been destroyed in the 9/11 attacks.
— GOARCH Press Office (@GOARCH_Press) July 4, 2022
The original congregation was formed in 1916 by Greek immigrants. The older structure that had been built in 1922 housed relics of Saint Nicholas, Saint Catherine and Saint Sava, which were donated by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
Nestled across the street from the World Trade Center, the humble Church stood in stark contrast with the gargantuan Twin Towers. Demetrios, the archbishop at the time of the attacks, remarked that the old saint’s relics being merged with the remains of the victims sanctified the site.
“Within this area, which experienced the horror of total catastrophe, which was the ultimate in human ugliness, you have this type of place which is not a house, not a business, not a museum, not a symphony hall. It’s a religious place, which opens the realm of holiness: this total other, the transcendent.” (RELATED: Church Destroyed In 9/11 Rebuilt As National Shrine)
While the Orthodox community shared in the tragedy that befell the nation on 9/11, it now also shares in its revival through this 4th of July consecration.