Beliefnet

(RNS) The small Greek Orthodox church destroyed by falling rubblefrom the World Trade Center in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks willreceive $10,000 from the American Jewish Committee to rebuild.

The 85-year-old St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church has receivedpledges of more than $1.1 million for its rebuilding fund. The leader ofthe world's Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,pledged $50,000. Residents of the Italian town of Bari, where a shrinecontains the relics of the original St. Nicholas, have pledged $500,000.

"This gesture is a treasure, a movement of the heart," saidArchbishop Demetrios, leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in America,accepting the gift from the AJC.

The small congregation was located just 500 feet from where the TwinTowers stood. Precious icons given to the church by Czar Nicholas II ofRussia have not been found. St. Nicholas was the only church in lowerManhattan to be destroyed in the attacks; two Episcopal churchessustained only minor damage.

AJC leaders said the donation reflects the long-standing tiesbetween the Jewish and Greek Orthodox communities. "We are proud to joinwith the Greek Orthodox community in rebuilding St. Nicholas Church,"said Martin Kaplan, chair of the AJC's Commission on InterreligiousAffairs.

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