Answered prayers: St. Nicholas to rebuild. (markamav/Flickr.com)
“Win-win!,” were the two words that Father Mark Arey chose to describe this morning’s deal signed with the Port Authority that will bring St. Nicholas Church back to the World Trade Center site. Arey, the spokesperson for the Greek Archdioses in America, said the agreement was signed in the governor’s Manhattan office by church council member Michael Jaharis and the Port Authority’s soon-to-be-departing-director Chris Ward. Governor Cuomo stood witness to the signing with Archbishop Demetrios. The governors prodding of the Port brought the two parties toward an agreement. The new building will sit at the corner of Liberty and Greenwich streets near Four World Trade.
St. Nicholas church sat in the shadow of the World Trade towers and will now sit in the shadow of Four World Trade.
Arey said that building the church on the site would not cause any financial hardship or delay construction at the World Trade site. “I think you’ll see international support for rebuilding the only house of worship on the site,” he said.
At 4100 square feet the building will be nearly four times the size of the original 1848 structure. Arey said that it was premature to speculate on any architectural competition, but allowed that the new building would harmonize with the new neighborhood, but would also be clearly identifiable as a Christian church with a cross at its top.
“We want to do something that is in concert with what is now there and at the same time make it creative and dynamic,” said Arey. “The old St. Nicholas wasn’t a part of the neighborhood architecturally, but now we’ll be connected spiritually and architecturally.” The church will have to wait for the Port to produce the slab for them to build on, which Arey said would take at least a year.