National Shrine to replace church destroyed on 9/11

By Ben Feuerherd and Kate Briquelet New York Post

Artist rendering of the St. Nicholas National Shrine

Artist rendering of the St. Nicholas National Shrine

A Greek Orthodox church crushed on 9/11 is finally being resurrected.

Hundreds of people flocked to the future site of the St. Nicholas National Shrine for a “ground-blessing” ceremony Saturday to celebrate a house of worship that will one day overlook the 9/11 Museum and Memorial.

A $38 million, domed alabaster sanctuary will replace its modest 19th-century predecessor — a tiny four-story building toppled by the collapse of the South Tower. It was the only church destroyed in the September 11, 2011, attacks.

Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the Byzantine-style structure is scheduled for completion in 2016.

Church officials told The Post they have raised $7.2 million toward construction — $1.2 million of that from an insurance policy.

“I don’t think [continuing fund-raising] is daunting,” said the Rev. Evagoras Constamides, a church spokesman. “Today is an excellent example that our community is ready… to respond to this effort.”

Officials said they have collected donations from around the world, including $260,000 from the Greek government, as well as Greek Orthodox parishes throughout the US.

“After 13 years of tremendous non-stopping, non-sleeping efforts… we start the process for the resurrection of the church,” said Archbishop Demetrios, the leader of the Greek Orthodox church in the US.

The congregation was founded in 1916 by Greek immigrants, who held services at a tavern-turned-church at 155 Cedar St.

When the church was destroyed on 9/11, years of talks with the Port Authority over a land swap began. A deal was finally reached that would give the PA rights to the Cedar Street property and allow the church to rebuild at 130 Liberty St.

The new church will include a non-denominational bereavement space for Ground Zero visitors.

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