A large crowd will assemble at St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at New York’s ground zero tomorrow, for a ceremony on the 16th anniversary of the city’s terror attacks, which sadly took place on September 11, 2001.
The church, which is located next to the World Trade Centre memorial plaza will glow at night like a marble beacon when it opens sometime next year.
It also will mark another step in the long rebuilding of New York’s ground zero.
The St Nicholas National Shrine, designed by famous architect Santiago Calatrava, will replace a small church that was destroyed by the trade centre’s south tower on September 11, 2001.
The new church will give Greek Orthodox believers a place to worship while also welcoming visitors of any faith who want to reflect on the lives lost in the terrorist attacks.
“It is such a significant church because of what happened here,” said Jerry Dimitriou, executive director of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which oversees 540 parishes and approximately 1.5 million Greek Orthodox faithful across the United States. He said people may want to stop and pray after they’ve been to the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum, a few paces away. “We will give them a place to come and sit, and sit inside of a church,” Dimitriou said.
St Nicholas was inspired by two Byzantine Greek churches- Hagia Sophia in Constantinople and the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora. Like those structures built in the fifth and sixth centuries, Saint. Nicholas will feature a central dome flanked by towers.
The building will be covered in marble from quarries north of Athens —the same type of marble that was used to build the Parthenon. Calatrava said he was thrilled to receive permission from the Greek government to use the marble because, “for me Hagia Sophia is the Parthenon of Orthodoxy.”