Orthodox clergy, faithful witness presence of “steel crosses” amidst World Trade Center ruins

The combination of gracious hospitality from “New York’s Finest” coupled with a long standing working relationship between the Very Rev. Nicholas Timpko, Rector of Three Saints Church, Ansonia, CT and the State of New York MTA Police Department, afforded a small contingent of Orthodox faithful an opportunity to visit the area of the World Trade Center now known as “Ground Zero” on Thursday, September 20, 2001.

Father Timpko, Deacon Anthony Kruge, and parishioners Nicholas Timpko and Luke Nescott visited police personnel at several MTA stations throughout the city. Offering prayers and condolences, the group was welcomed at each stop and was moved greatly by the outpouring of faith and support that has become the norm in the city since the terrorist attack on September 11.

Later in the morning, the group was brought directly to the site of the disaster via police escort. Once at the site, Father Timpko offered prayers for the departed and injured as well as for all those affected by the tragedy. Upon noticing the presence of the group, many of the rescue personnel in the area momentarily interrupted their efforts to pray along.

“Immediately after blessing the site with holy water, we were approached by a member of the New York City Fire Department who had joined them in prayer moments earlier,” said Deacon Kruge. “Indicating that he wanted to show us something that he thought we would find inspiring, he asked us to come and see what he had titled ‘Calvary.’ This tireless servant who had been on the job since the second day of the catastrophe, lead us through a blown out entrance which now had been adorned with the words ‘God’s House’ painted in gold spray paint by the officer. We continued through several police blockades, rubble, and smoldering debris to what was once the main floor and now part of the basement level of tower two.”

Upon entering the area, the group immediately witnessed a stirring testimony of what the fireman had found. Directly in the center of the remains of twisted steel, concrete and glass stood cross-wise two steel girders approximately fifty feet high and thirty feet wide formed precisely in the shape of a crucifix.

“The fireman believed that the “cross” had certainly fallen from a great height through the tower to be able to penetrate the debris and to stand upright.” Deacon Kruge said. “Draped on the left side of the horizontal bar was what appeared to be a remnant of steel the color and texture of the wing or the body of an aircraft. Large pieces of concrete lay where Christ’s head and feet would normally be positioned on the cross. This unusual finding became even more rousing as the fireman pointed to the left and the right of the central cross, where two other cross-wise beams had fallen in like manner, hence completing the image of what had been referred to as ‘Calvary.’”

“The fireman told us that the previous evening, a well-known TV anchorwoman had visited the site, where two of her relatives had perished,” said Deacon Kruge. “As the fireman approached her and asked if she would be interested in seeing ‘God’s House,’ she replied, ‘How could you dare call this God’s house?’ However, upon seeing the ‘steel crosses,’ the fireman told us, the woman wept bitterly at what she had seen.”

News of the “steel crosses” has spread, even as ongoing cleanup efforts continue.

After spending time comforting and speaking with other rescue and government personnel at the site, Father Timpko and his group were brought back to Grand Central station under police escort.

“As we discussed the ‘steel crosses’ and the trip to ‘Calvary’ on our train ride back to Connecticut, it became obvious to us that Christ had indeed risen again from the dead, lifting those who perished to eternal life through His resurrection,” Deacon Kruge said.