Appleton church closes, makes big donation to shrine

$100,000 from the sale of the site will help build the St. Nicholas National Shrine near Ground Zero

St Nicholas National Shrine sign SUPERED 03112016

A Greek Orthodox Shrine being constructed in New York City receives a big donation from a church in Appleton that had to close its doors.

That shrine will serve as a memorial to the former St. Nicholas Church which was destroyed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks when the World Trade Center came down.

Sharing the same St. Nicholas name, the former Appleton church and the parish destroyed during the 9/11 attacks now have a common bond. A decision was made to sell the Appleton property, which is now the site of a self-storage facility, and donate $100,000 towards the $280 million shrine being built in New York City.

“I think it’s an incredible donation on behalf of the community in Appleton,” said Dena Meyst, parish council president at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Fond du Lac.

The Fond du Lac church consolidated with St. Nicholas in Appleton after the recent sale.

Father Ted Trifon of Holy Trinity said, “People usually ask why certain things happen in life. Nobody knows how God works, but we say many times when God allows a door to be closed then another door opens.”

The new shrine will be right across from the Ground Zero memorials, close to the site of the original St. Nicolas church, which was next to the South Tower.

“Some of the last witnesses to see the church still standing before the collapse of the tower reported that the landing gear from one of the airplanes that crashed into the towers was actually on the roof of the church,” said John Ackerman, Director of Media Relations for Metropolis of Chicago, which oversees the Fond du Lac and former Appleton parish.

While the loss of the Appleton church is sad, the new shrine is something special.

“It’s going to be beautiful when it’s finished, and important to us as Orthodox Christians,” Meyst said.

Construction on that shrine is expected wrap up sometime this fall.