2016-06-30

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

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

"This gesture is a treasure, a movement of the heart," said Archbishop 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 Twin Towers stood. Precious icons given to the church by Czar Nicholas II of Russia have not been found. St. Nicholas was the only church in lower Manhattan to be destroyed in the attacks; two Episcopal churches sustained only minor damage.

AJC leaders said the donation reflects the long-standing ties between the Jewish and Greek Orthodox communities. "We are proud to join with the Greek Orthodox community in rebuilding St. Nicholas Church," said Martin Kaplan, chair of the AJC's Commission on Interreligious Affairs.


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