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Work resumes on Greek Orthodox church destroyed on 9/11

NEW YORK (AP) — After a three year halt due to financial problems, work resumed Monday on a Greek Orthodox church being built to replace one destroyed in the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Archbishop Elpidophoros, the leader of the Greek Orthodox church in America, stood on a balcony on the unfinished church and used holy water and sprigs of basil to bless the construction of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center.

“We have heard the voice of the Lord and we are rebuilding our church,” he said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was there to see work resume, said the continuing reconstruction is more proof of New Yorkers’ persistence to rise from the ashes of the terror attacks.

“This St. Nicholas is going to be more splendid and more inviting than the St. Nicholas that was here before,” he said.

In its current state, the church designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava resembles a concrete bunker. But when complete it will feature marble cladding and a central dome flanked by towers like the two Byzantine shrines that inspired it, the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora and Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, which was converted to a mosque last month.

The church will serve Orthodox believers as well as welcoming visitors of all faiths who wish to reflect on the losses of Sept. 11. Archdiocese officials still hope to complete the facade church by Sept. 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

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