The St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center will not open as hoped on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, according to the New York Post.
Instead, the public will get just a glimpse of the $100 million project – which was designed by Spanish “starchitect” Santiago Calatrava – at 8 pm on September 10, when the building is lit for the first time.
The domed shrine, which is covered in the same type of marble used to build the Parthenon in Athens, is supposed to appear as if it’s glowing from the inside.
“The light that will shine forth that night and every night to come will bear witness to the love of God for all people, as it is so truly said, ‘it is far better to light a candle than to curse the darkness’,” an August 2021 update by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America writes.
The shrine will then go dark for eight more months, until its scheduled opening to the public in April 2022.
A year ago, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America said the shrine would be finished by this fall. Archbishop Elpidophoros, who heads the church in the US, said “it will be completed and open to all people, on the 20th anniversary” of 9/11.
But Michael Psaros, the vice chairman of the Friends of St Nicholas which was formed in 2019 to help complete the project, told the NY Post that with pandemic-related delays, only the exterior was to be “substantially completed” by this September. Work is to continue on the iconography inside the church.
The building, which was originally supposed to be finished in 2016, will be a functioning Greek Orthodox church and house a non-denominational bereavement center.
It is the only house of worship at the World Trade Center site, and this week Elpidophoros named Reverend Andreas Vithoulkas, the chancellor of the Archdiocese, as the pastor of St Nicholas.
It replaces the modest St Nicholas Church on Cedar Street which was destroyed on September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center’s South Tower fell.
Source: New York Post.