The first marble panels began installation last week on the walls of the forthcoming St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at Ground Zero, the site where the original church stood for 85 years before its destruction during the September 11 attacks.
Photos of the panel work were posted to the church’s official Facebook page on February 18 with the accompanying caption: “The Construction of the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine continues to proceed.”
Located near the intersection of Greenwich and Liberty Streets on the elevated Liberty Park, St. Nicholas Ground Zero will serve as the new home for thousands of Greek Orthodox faithful in Lower Manhattan who have waited almost two decades for its reconstruction.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is overseeing the construction of the new church, located directly south of the original World Trade Center complex.
The marble used to create the outer walls comes from the same vein of Pentelic marble that was used to build the Parthenon. The material was gifted by the Greek government and made a nearly 7,000 mile journey to New York City.
St. Nicholas Ground Zero has been designed to shine, with interior lighting illuminating the marble and creating a signature glow.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America announced plans last month for the church’s official “Thyranixia,” or door opening ceremony, for the long-awaited house of worship.
Greek Orthodox Archbishop Elpidophoros of America said last month that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians, will travel from Turkey to officiate at the ceremony, scheduled for November 2.
The church was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, whose inspiration came from the Hagia Sophia and Church of the Holy Savior of Chora. A painting of Jesus Christ will adorn the underside of the dome’s highest point.
Banners on the construction fence read “Coming 2021″ but an official completion date remains to be announced. Archbishop Elpidophoros has previously said that the church would be complete in time to commemorate this year’s 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
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