Ceremony at St. Nicholas Shrine at Ground Zero Commemorates 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

Archbishop of the Americas Elpidophoros at Ground Zero in Manhattan on Friday, celebrating a liturgy outside St. Nicholas Shrine with family members of the fallen. Credit: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Archbishop Elpidophoros, the leader of all the Greek Orthodox faithful in the Americas, officiated at a moving ceremony in front of the rebuilt St. Nicholas Shrine today, the nineteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center.

At the foot of the rebuilt Trade Center, called “Freedom Tower,” which soars 1,776 feet into the sky, Elpidophoros addressed just a small congregation of Greek Orthodox families who had lost loved ones, outdoors, due to the social distancing rules in place in New York City.

Archbishop of the Americas Elpidophoros celebrating liturgy Sept. 11, 2020, in front of St. Nicholas Shrine. Credit: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Of the nearly 3,000 people who perished on September 11, 2001 – a day that will never be forgotten – 39 were Greek-Americans. Today, 19 years later, the grim memories remain intense for the families of those unjustly lost and for all of those who believe in freedom and peace.

The Kousoulis family at Ground Zero, Sept. 11, 2020. Credit: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Archbishop Elpidophoros later posted on Facebook: “Today, at Ground Zero, we remembered the lives lost on 9/11, their families and friends, and all those heroes who gave the last full measure. We are rebuilding St. Nicholas for them, and to build a better world. May God grant comfort to all who mourn this day.”

The Archbishop later spoke to the family of Danielle Kousoulis, who had been lost in the attacks, as well as other families in attendance. The family held a placard during the service with many photographs of their beautiful daughter, who had been only 30 when she was killed in the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers.

Credit: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Credit: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Credit: Archbishop Elpidophoros/Facebook

Below is the list of the Greek-American victims (some believed to be Greek because of their names) issued by the New York City Coroner’s office.

Joanne Marie Ahladiotis, 27
Ernest Alifakos, 43
Arlene T. Babakitis, 47
Katherine Bantis, 48
Peter Brennan, 30
Thomas A. Damaskinos, 33
Anthony Demas, 61
Constantine (Gus) Economos, 41
Michael J. Elferis, 27
Ana Fosteris, 58
Jimmy Grekiotis
Kenneth G. Grouzalis, 56
Steven M. Hagis, 31
Vasilios G. Haramis, 56
Nicholas John, 42
John Katsimatides, 31
Danielle Kousoulis, 29
Thomas Kuveikis, 48
James Maounis, 42
Philip William Mastrandrea, Jr 42
George Merkouris, 35
Stilianos Mousouroulis
Peter C. Moutos, 44
Nikos Papadopoulos/Papas, 29
James N. Pappageorge, 29
George Paris, 33
Theodoros Pigis, 60
Daphne Pouletsos, 47
Richard N. Poulos, 55
Stephen E. Poulos, 45
Anthony Savas, 72
Muriel Fay Siskopoulos, 60
Timothy Patrick Soulas, 35
Andrew Stergiopoulos, 23
Michael C. Tarrou, 38
Michael Theodoridis, 32
William P. Tselepis, 33
Jennifer Tzemis, 26
Prokopios Paul Zois, 46

Michael R. Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, noted in a statement on Friday that “Today, we remember and honor the nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the terrorist attacks in our country 19 years ago on September 11.

“We have made great strides to defeat al-Qa’ida and other terrorist groups that seek to do us harm, and our efforts to protect our homeland continue today. The men and women of the U.S. Department of State are proud to stand side-by-side with partners from all over the world in this effort, and we will not waver in our resolve to hold terrorists accountable as we pursue peace, security, and justice.

“Today,” he concluded, “we join with people across the globe in remembering the victims of 9/11. Those who were lost will never be forgotten. We continue to pray for guidance, wisdom, and protection for the men and women in uniform who fight each day to guard the world against terrorism, and we pray for the families whose loved ones were lost nineteen years ago.”

Click here to watch the live webcam over the St. Nicholas/WTC site at Ground Zero.