Showing posts with label Fr. Alexander Karloutsos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fr. Alexander Karloutsos. Show all posts

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mosque v. St. Nick

The mosque to be built two blocks from Ground Zero has created a national fury.
But the only house of worship destroyed on September 11, 2001, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, remains in ashes. I try here to stick to explanatory facts - all links provide background.
Near Liberty Street 9/11/2008 by Dimitra
The church belongs to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese based in Manhattan, but the party in power is the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls much Ground Zero land. The church waited to rebuild on promises of a larger piece of adjacent property. Talks stalled. Fox News offers this summary and Former Gov. George Pataki is among the politicians crying foul.
The church accuses the Port Authority of reneging on a multi-million dollar land swap, and excavating the church site without permission.
Port Authority spokespeople told the Wall Street Journal that "the church has the right to rebuild at any time" and told Fox News they offered up to $60 million toward reconstruction, but the church wanted more. The archdiocese, represented by Fr. Mark Arey, told Fox News "that is not true. The church never declined an offer from the Port Authority." Then the church issued a press release saying the Port Authority et al "excavated the original site without our consent, rendering it unusable, in flagrant violation of our legal rights."  The Port Authority told Fox News it will pay fair market value for the land underneath the church.
This brings us back to the mosque's legal right to renovate on private property, the position held by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a recent press conference in the New York harbor. Standing in support was Greek Orthodox Archdiocese representative Fr. Alexander Karloutsos. He is an archdiocese liaison to the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul, Turkey. The Patriarch told 60 Minutes he feels "crucified" by the lack of religious freedom in Turkey. On August 15, for instance, Turkish authorities allowed the Soumela Monastery to hold a service for the first time in 90 years.
Score 1: Turkish church, 0 American church. More to come.

Notes:
* This 2008 seminarian video offers some perspective on the site and what parish priest Fr. John Romas expected at the time.
* The New York times wrote on hopes for a new building in 2007 and talks falling apart in 2009.
* The St. Nicholas Church Website.
* A Port Authority press release that says agreement was reached by both sides, in 2008.