Two years after a lack of funds halted construction of a marble-clad Greek Orthodox church at New York's World Trade Center site, Governor Andrew Cuomo (left) and Greek Orthodox officials announced plans on January 2nd to resume construction with the goal of finishing the rebuilding by the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. As the Associated Press reports, the completed St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, will welcome visitors from all faiths while also replacing an Orthodox church that was buried in the rubble of the trade center's south tower.
“This house of worship will serve as a reminder that our collective faith is something we can always count on to move past our painful memories and build a better tomorrow," Cuomo said in a statement. Archbishop Elpidophoros (right), the head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, pledged that the rebuilt church will be “open to all women and men of goodwill who wish to honor the memory of all who perished on Sept. 11.”
The cost estimate of the church just south of the rebuilt trade center's memorial pools has ballooned from $20 million when the design was announced in 2013 to $80 million, of which $40 million remains to be raised, said the Rev. Alex Karloutsos, vicar general of the archdiocese.
Elpidophoros and Cuomo said an independent 13-member board called Friends of St. Nicholas will lead the fundraising effort to complete construction. The board will be chaired by Dennis Mehiel, former chairman of New York's Battery Park City Authority.
Construction company Skanska U.S.A. halted work on St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox church destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in December 2017 when the archdiocese ran out of money to complete the project. The half-finished church has been covered in white tarp since then. Archdiocesan officials expect construction to resume by early March. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS