With all the hullabaloo over the proposed mosque and community center near Ground Zero, other proposed projects and buildings in the area have been lost in the shuffle. Yesterday, officials of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America tried to shift the conversation back to the reconstruction of St. Nicholas Church, the only house of worship destroyed in the attacks.
The NY Times reports that former Governor George Pataki appeared alongside George Demos, a Greek-American Congressional candidate from Long Island, at the event, arguing in favor of rebuilding St. Nicholas while also subtly (and not so subtly) criticizing the planned community center, of which Pataki said of, “we don’t know the funding, we don’t know the view of the people behind it.” Without offering specific evidence, Demos said that the planned community center would be built with money from Saudi Arabia, “a nation that prohibits people from even wearing a cross or the Star of David.” Hear that, Fox News?
Last year, a deal with Port Authority to relocate the church nearby fell through; since then, communication between the church and Port Authority have broken down. Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, told the Times that the church hasn't taken sides in the mosque debate: “We didn’t want to say anything that might jeopardize the plans for rebuilding our church...That is our No. 1 concern: building our church.”