Before being unveiled in November and opened to the public in spring or early summer next year, the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas in New York will be hosting a service for the first time in 20 years to commemorate the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center that razed it to the ground and claimed nearly 3,000 lives.
Speaking to Russia’s Sputnik news agency on Wednesday, Father Alex Karloutsos, head of public affairs for the Archdiocese of America, said that Archbishop of America Elpidophoros will hold evening prayers on Friday, before Saint Nicholas and the surrounding buildings at Ground Zero are lit up in blue to commemorate the victims of the attack on Saturday.
“This is our contribution to the anniversary of September 11,” he said.
Crushed by the collapsing south tower, the original Saint Nicholas has been replaced by a glass-domed shrine designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Work on the project continues but is near completion.
The project is being run by the Friends of Saint Nicholas (FoSN), a nonprofit organization tasked with raising funds for its completion and overseeing the final phase of rebuilding.
Elpidophoros is due to unveil the building on November 2 in a ceremony that will be attended by Patriarch Vartholomaios – conditions allowing – while the church is slated to resume services as usual next year.