A Greek Orthodox church that was destroyed by the 9/11 terror attack will begin construction on Monday.
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Lower Manhattan, New York, crumbled when the South Tower of the World Trade Center came crashing down on top of it.
But now the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America says: "the phoenix is on the verge of rising from the ashes. And the hopeful and loving light of Orthodox Christianity will again shrine brightly at Ground Zero for the whole world to see and experience."
Several attempts to rebuild it were made but all unsuccessful. In January 2020, the church was half-finished, but with no work having been done for two years.
In 90 days $45 million was raised and rebuilding was meant to start in spring but was delayed again because of Covid-19.
It will now begin on Monday as a crane lowers the first skylight into the church's dome, in a ceremony presided over by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Archbishop Elpidophoros, the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.
"Finally, the only House of God destroyed on Sept. 11 will be completed and open to all people, on the twentieth anniversary of that fateful and horrific day," Archbishop Elpidophoros told the New York Post.
"We look forward to welcoming New Yorkers and the entire world to this sacred space dedicated to memory, faith, and freedom."
"Monday's going to be a very emotional day. A powerful day," said Fr Michael Psaros, who is part of the group who got the project going again.
"St. Nicholas … will be, for the Greek-American community, our Parthenon and our St. Sophia in America," said Psaros. "It will be a powerful symbol of the triumph of the principals of the American ideal, with respect to individual and religious freedom."
The church plans to reopen on the 20th anniversary of the attack - on 11th September 2021.
The church will include a non-denominational bereavement centre.