Construction is underway at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center as a crane appeared at the site on Wednesday to continue the long-awaited project.
The original St. Nicholas Church and its iconography were completely destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. But after almost two decades and a two-year construction stall from 2017 to 2019, the church is on the road to renewal — and with new iconography from a monastery on Mt. Athos.
Fr. Alex Karloutsos, who serves as vicar general and director of public affairs for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, told The Pappas Post that the latest image of St. Nicholas sends a “powerful message” to faithful throughout the country.
“Almost 20 years ago, we watched with devastation as the tragic events of 9/11 unfolded at the World Trade Center,” Karloutsos said. “But now, as construction begins again, we can look on with hope for St. Nicholas to finally be restored.”
Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the church is being developed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had announced via Twitter on January 2 that construction at St. Nicholas would resume following the two-year pause.
“The rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church, destroyed on 9/11, is a moment of healing, not only for the Greek Orthodox community but for all NYers,” Cuomo said in his tweet.
The governor made the announcement during a visit with Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, who one month prior had announced that the church will re-open on September 11, 2021 — the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
“In 2021, on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we will open this church,” Elpidophoros said. “But we will open it with prayer, we will open it with Thanksgiving, and with a welcome for all people.”
The project will cost an estimated $80 million to complete, according to the Archdiocese.
“We too shall be victorious here at the World Trade Center,” Elpidophoros said during a site visit on December 6, 2019, the feast day of St. Nicholas. “And Nikolaos – ‘the Victory of the People’ – shall stand as a testimony that Faith overcomes doubt, Hope overturns despair, and Love conquers all!”
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