Ground Zero Orthodox Shrine will not open for 9/11 anniversary


A perpetually delayed Greek Orthodox church near Ground Zero will not be open in time for the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, officials have said.

The setback is the latest in a long list of obstacles to the completion of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and the $100 million national shrine at the World Trade Center.

Work dragged on for eight years to replace the only place of worship destroyed in the attacks. The opening is now scheduled for mid-October.

The project – which was designed by Spanish « starchitect » Santiago Calatrava – was due to open last spring.

The Greek Orthodox Church held a consecration service, attended by some 1,000 people, at the marble-clad building in July, although interior work was not completed.

Michael Psaros, president of Friends of St. Nicholas, which is raising money for the project, said shipping delays were to blame.

« Remember, marble starts in Greece, goes to Germany, goes to Austria, goes to Minnesota and then goes to Ground Zero, » Psaros said.

Church organizers say they are awaiting the arrival of marble from Greece.
Helayne Seidman

He said the last marble pieces arrived in August and are being installed and the iconography that will adorn the walls is also nearing completion.

The shrine replaces the modest St. Nicholas Church that stood on Cedar Street until it was destroyed when the South Tower of the World Trade Center fell.

The project was delayed due to negotiations with the Port Authority, which owns the Liberty Street site, and a funding crisis that halted construction in December 2017 and led authorities to investigate what happened to the money.

Showing St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine to hold the Raising of the Cross Atop Ceremony at 130 Liberty Street in Manhattan, New York.
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was destroyed after the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.
Brigitte Stelzer

Psaros said the building, which will include a non-denominational bereavement center, has been fully funded.

The Reverend Alex Karloutsos, an adviser to the Friends group, said two donors had pledged a total of $5 million for an endowment fund once the certificate of occupancy was issued.

And when the building is finally complete, it will be lit from within to make it look like it’s glowing.

“It will be lit every night after we open,” Psaros said. “This light will truly be a symbol of resurrection over death, light over darkness. Truly the resurrection of New York.


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