Source: The National Herald
NEW YORK – Although the blessing of the site at Ground Zero has been postponed until the Fall and the start of construction has been pushed back to September after earlier hopes for a July or August beginning, the new Church of St. Nicholas may still be completed in time for Pascha 2016.
His Grace Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, Chancellor of the Archdiocese, informed The National Herald that due diligence and the desire to “negotiate the best price for materials to keep the cost down,” has delayed the finalization of some agreements.
“It is nothing major, just the usual things that need to be ironed out,” he said, and noted such matters require time and have taken longer than anticipated.”
The Archdiocese has been told that once construction begins, it will take 18 to 24 months, so the projected September start means a thyranixia service and grand opening could “conceivably be done by Pascha 2016 or soon thereafter,” his Grace emphasized.
A visit to the site at the southeast corner of the World Trade Center site will reveal that the Port Authority of NY and NJ has completed the platform atop the Vehicle Security Center (VSC) on which the sanctuary will be built and is moving forward on cosmetic and other structural work.
TNH learned that a six-story tower-like structure at the site is actually an air shaft for the VSC which will be integrated into the church building, constituting one of the four piers which will flank the dome and evoke the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.
While the Santiago Calatrava design still awaits its execution, the fundraising effort is moving forward. Although announcements will be made, at this time His Grace is not at liberty to reveal the names of donors who have already committed substantial funds to the project.
Fr. Alex Karloutsos, Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, is spearheading the fundraising.
His Grace said Fr. Karloutsos, “has put together a comprehensive program which will afford not only large donors the opportunity to commit funds, but also includes parishes, Philoptochos chapters and Greek-American organizations,” across the nation.
“The Archbishop has repeatedly stated that he does not want this to be a church built by a few wealthy individuals, but rather everyone should have the opportunity to be a part of this monumental and historic undertaking,” His Grace said.