A two-year cost-inhibited halt of Santiago Calatrava’s-designed St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine will resume in time for the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001’s terrorist attacks.
Since the construction company Skanska U.S.A stopped its work on the church in December 2017 (when the archdiocese ran out money), Governor Andrew Cuomo and Greek Orthodox officials have announced plans to complete the project.
Santiago Calatrava’s love and expertise in Byzantine architecture saw the decision makers of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox choose the man behind the ‘golden games’, 2004 Olympics.
His appreciation for Hellenism and Orthodoxy, alongside his adoration of Hagia Sophia, made him the perfect match, confessing to The National Herald that he took trips to see the Acropolis and Hagia Sophia when he was a young student.
“I felt I had discovered the most beautiful sequence of spaces in the world. To me, Hagia Sophia is the Parthenon of the Orthodoxy.”
His involvement throughout the construction and design of the building will resume with the project.
The swelling costs – from an original $20m design to $80m – will be funded by the donors Cuomo called upon such as John Catsimatidis, billionaire owner of the Gristedes Foods supermarket chain.
The half-finished church will see its construction recommence by early March, with the concrete structure’s white-tarped sheath to be replaced with marble.
‘We’re very grateful to Governor Cuomo; without him we would not have gotten through the political morass of getting [the church] rebuilt,’ says Father Alex Karloutsos, assistant director of public affairs for the church.