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Saint Nicholas National Shrine Begins Rebuilding Following October 18th Ground Blessing Ceremony

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Stavros Papagermanos
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NEW YORK – A Ground Blessing ceremony for Saint Nicholas National Shrine at the World Trade Center took place on October 18, 2014 on Liberty Street at the site of the new National Shrine. As the only house of worship destroyed in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the shrine is set to be fully rebuilt by the end of 2016.

The grounds for the National Shrine, designed by world-renowned Architect Santiago Calatrava were blessed in an "agiasmos" (Greek for ‘sanctification') ceremony led by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America.

The Ground Blessing ceremony included a prayer service, readings from scripture, and the blessing of water from the memorial pools followed by commentary from political officials, religious figures and Calatrava.  The service concluded with a moment of silence remembering the victims who perished in the tragic attacks on September 11.

"This is truly a remarkable event, commemorating not only what was lost, but acknowledging a future of rebuilding, reconciliation, healing and peace," said Fr. Evagoras Constantinides, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America's spokesperson.

Once rebuilt, the National Shrine will include a 2nd floor non-denominational bereavement center welcoming all those seeking comfort and prayer and a place of solace.

"The ground blessing ceremony marks the rebuilding project coming to life," Fr. Constantinides added. "It's been a long road, and the Archdiocese welcomes everyone to attend St. Nicholas National Shrine once its doors are opened."

The ceremony boasted more than 2,000 attendees, including U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, former NY Gov. George Pataki, and former NYC Mayor David Dinkins.

For more information about St. Nicholas National Shrine, or to make a donation, please visit: http://www.stnicholaswtc.org/

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