Remembering 9-11 and the Cross
Welcome to “This Week in Orthodoxy”, the world’s only online video newscast focused on events in the life of the Orthodox Church. I’m Emmy Louvaris. These are some of the stories making headlines the week of Friday, September 16th, 2016.
* Remembering 9/11
* Saint Nicholas National Shrine at the World Trade Center
*Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross
First Up, remembering the worst attack on American soil, Fifteen years ago. On the morning of September 11, 2001, a horrendous tragedy struck our nation. Terrorist attacks caused over 3000 deaths and destruction in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. The victims, persons from all over the world, included office workers, airline employees and passengers, public officials, military personnel, and rescue workers.
Each year on this day, America pauses to respectfully, remember and reflect on an unsuspected, horrific attack of the American people and those who died as a result of it.
NY has rebuilt. Families have learned to cope with the deaths of loved ones. And people who survived the experience, witnessed the destruction and moved on still carry those memories with them forever and try to make sense of something that was so senseless.
Among those who lost their lives on 9/11 are two dozen Orthodox Christians, a list of whom has been compiled and maintained over the years. While the list may not be complete-our Lord assures us that our prayers, even for those whose names have been forgotten or who are known to Him alone, will not go unanswered.
If you know of anyone whose name should be added to the list, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Saint Nicholas National Shrine at the World Trade Center
And next up, the original Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church cast a reverent and faithful shadow on the World Trade Center.
Greek immigrants purchased the row house in 1892 as a community home, and by 1916 it had become the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. For many, it would have been their first stop after seeing the Statue of Liberty and disembarking from Ellis Island. The little church was a spiritual jewel, open to all. Generations of New Yorkers, Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike, would stop in to light a candle, say a prayer, or just sit quietly.
Everything changed on 9/11. Saint Nicholas was completely destroyed in the collapse of World Trade Center Tower Two during terrorist attacks.
In the weeks and months that followed, Archbishop Demetrios of America presided over numerous funerals and memorials for the many Greek Orthodox Christians who died that fateful day.
He participated in interfaith and ecumenical events, at city, state and national levels. And most importantly for Saint Nicholas, the only house of worship destroyed on 9/11, the Archbishop inaugurated a dialogue with then-Governor George Pataki to rebuild the church.
The tradition of hospitality that Saint Nicholas exemplified throughout the twentieth century will continue at the new location, on the same block. There will be a Meditation/Bereavement space and a Community center, housed in the upper levels above the Narthex, to welcome visitors and faithful. It will shine as a spiritual beacon of hope and rebirth to cherish the memory of those who were lost that fateful day and to build a better future for generations yet to be born.
Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross
And lastly, the Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross is celebrated each year on September 14. The Feast commemorates the finding of the True Cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by Saint Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine.
In 326, the twentieth year of his reign, Emperor Constantine sent his mother Saint Helen to Jerusalem to venerate the holy places and to find the site of the Holy Sepulchre and of the Cross. Relying upon the oral tradition of the faithful, Saint Helen found the precious Cross together with the crosses of the two thieves crucified with our Lord. However, Helen had no way of determining which was the Cross of Christ.
With the healing of a dying woman who touched one of the crosses, Patriarch Macarius of Jerusalem identified the True Cross of Christ. This became the occasion of the institution in all of the Churches of the Exaltation of the Precious Cross, not only in memory of the finding the Cross, but also to celebrate how an instrument of shame was used to overcome death and bring salvation and eternal life.
The Feast is an opportunity outside of the observances of Holy Week to celebrate the full significance of the victory of the Cross over the powers of the world, and the triumph of the wisdom of God through the Cross over the wisdom of this world. It is a time to celebrate the universality of redemption accomplished through the Cross: which is seen as the new Tree of Life providing nourishment for those who have been redeemed in Christ.
And in News from OCN
Homeschooling: As the school year is set in motion, many parents are questioning the public school system for their children. Is “teaching to the test” working? Is society too secular? Is this the best education we can offer our children? Log on to myocn.net and click on the Orthodox News tab to access an article entitled “Why do Orthodox Families Homeschool their Children?” by Pres. Vassi Haros who recently asked Adam Lockridge, the Director of the St. Raphael School to get an insight on the home-school experience.
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That brings another edition of “This Week in Orthodoxy,” to a close. Wishing you a Blessed Week, for everyone here in our OCN studios, I’m Emmy Louvaris. Let’s go forth in peace.
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