It’s been a long and arduous process rebuilding the St. Nicholas National Shrine, a Greek Orthodox Church that was destroyed on 9/11 when the second trade tower toppled on it. Only last year was the foundation poured, and only two weeks ago were the steel ribs of the structure’s defining dome installed. But despite construction moving forward at a glacial pace, officials yesterday celebrated a major milestone with a “topping out ceremony” at the church’s new site at Greenwich and Liberty streets. The touchstone event was notably marked by the addition of a temporary 6-foot-3-inch Justinian cross, reports the Times.
St. Nicholas church in downtown Manhattan was destroyed during 9/11. But now it’s rising again. The rebuilding of the church started last year and today was the topping out ceremony where a wooden cross was placed on the highest point of the structure. It was a spectacular sight. The church will open its doors again in 2018. Check out my full radio story here: https://soundcloud.com/uptownradio/a-resurrected-church-on-ground-zero #rebuildstnicholas #sept11memorial #sept11 #groundzero #cjs17 @columbiajournalism
According to the Greek Reporter, the event was led by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America. Port Authority and SKANSKA execs, the Consul General of Greece, major donors and contributors to the project, and members of the original Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church community were also present at the ceremony.
Although the former structure—previously located at 155 Cedar Street (now the site of a high-security underground garage)—operated as a Greek Orthodox Church, the new $40 million reconstruction will be used as an ecumenical center, open to the public 24 hours a day. As such, the design, which was helmed by starchitect Santiago Calatratva (who also designed the neighboring WTC transit hub), in many ways reflects this sentiment. According to the Times, “St. Nicholas is intended to be a simplified, miniaturized, modern evocation of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, which has served over its long life both as a church and as a mosque.”
Construction is expected to wrap in the first half of 2018, and once it does, the temporary cross will be replaced with a permanent one.
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