Regular readers might remember my October 2015 post , ‘A Greek Church near Ground Zero’, about the project to build a new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine in New York, after the old church was destroyed in the 9/11 terror attacks.
The shrine, which like the Oculus transit hub was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, was supposed to glow at night and provide “a spiritual beacon of hope and rebirth,” as you can see in the picture above.
However, sixteen years after its destruction, the church is still far from finished. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, despite receiving $37 million in donations for the shrine, was unable to pay its bills, and the construction company stopped work a year ago.
The project’s price tag had meanwhile soared from $30 to $80 million, and apparently some of the donations were used to shore up the church’s dismal finances. The project is now being investigated by the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan. Sadly, what was deemed to be the new face of the Greek Orthodox church in America has turned into a national embarrassment.
Last Saturday, 90-year old Archbishop Demetrios of America finally submitted his resignation to Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, having resisted resigning for a while, although urged to do so.
A sad turn of events indeed. Hopefully, some solution can be found for the project’s completion.