Supporters of a Greek Orthodox Church destroyed on September 11, 2001 say officials willing to speak out about a planned community center and mosque near Ground Zero have been silent on efforts to get the church rebuilt.
But the World Trade Center site's owner says a deal to rebuild St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was offered and rejected, after years of negotiations, over money and other issues, according to the Newsmax website.
Although the projects are not related, supporters -- including George Pataki, New York's governor at the time of the September 11 attacks -- have questioned why public officials have not addressed St. Nicholas' future while they lead a debate on whether and where the Islamic cultural center should be built.
"What about us? Why have they forgotten or abandoned their commitment to us?" asked Father Alex Karloutsos, assistant to the archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. "When I see them raising issues about the mosque and not thinking about the church that was destroyed, it does bother us."
"Rather than focus his attention on the mosque, Governor Paterson should step in right away to ensure that the state of New York and the Port Authority uphold the agreement with the Greek Orthodox Church so this project can go forward without further delay," state Sen. Dean Skelos said yesterday (August 23, 2010).
Pataki, who as governor of New York promised that St. Nicholas would be rebuilt after the 2001 attacks, said yesterday that the Port Authority needed to reach out to church officials. "It's just wrong that the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church, which was there and which was part of the master plan, has basically been ignored," he said.