To be perfectly honest, this is a story that tears my heart out.
I have been reporting and writing about the destruction of the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in lower Manhattan ever since Sept. 12, 2001. This was, of course, the tiny sanctuary crushed by the fall of the south tower of the World Trade Center.
I have also written columns about the long and complicated efforts by Orthodox officials to obtain a site near ground zero so that a new St. Nicholas could be built as a memorial and sanctuary. When I am in Manhattan, l live and teach nearby and pass the new construction site almost every day. My favorite pub is 50 paces away.
Now there is this, a recent headline from The New York Post: "How a church destroyed on 9/11 became mired in controversy." The overture states the basic facts:
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was to be a “beacon of hope” at the World Trade Center site, glowing at night as a symbol to the faithful and those seeking solace on hallowed ground.
Thousands of visitors were to walk through the church doors on Liberty Street to worship, light a candle or just sit quietly in a nondenominational meditation room overlooking one of the 9/11 Memorial’s reflecting pools.
Now the church is a half-built eyesore, and when those doors will open is uncertain. The project has been stalled for five months and become a quagmire of accusations and millions of dollars in missing donations and cost overruns. What was to be the proud symbol of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, and the only house of worship tending to the masses at Ground Zero, is now mired in controversy. ...
GetReligion readers will not be surprised to know that the main thing missing from this long and detailed report is (wait for it) religion. And here is the big irony in this story: If the Post team had probed the religious elements of this story if would have been even more painful to read, especially for the Orthodox.