Saturday marked the public "ground blessing" ceremony for the Saint Nicholas National Shrine, the Greek Orthodox Church destroyed on 9/11 by the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. The church is being rebuilt near its original location at 130 Liberty Street overlooking the National September 11 Memorial park.
The designer of the new church is renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. During the ceremeny, Calatrava compared the reconstruction of the church to the rebuilding of the Parthenon in Athens by the ancient Greeks. He added that on 9/11, he was in Athens working on his Olympic Sports Complex for the 2004 games.
“It is my hope that, for generations to come, the Saint Nicholas church will serve as a house of prayer, love, peace and a place for reconciliation,” said Calatrava.
His design was inspired by two places of worship in Istanbul: the Hagia Sophia and the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora. The dome-shaped design evolved loosely from a mosaic of "Madonna and Child Enthroned."