File 2017: Construction workers on a temporary cross on the St. Nicholas National Shrine in New York. Work at the Greek Orthodox church destroyed in Sept. 11 attacks was stopped in the midst of financial difficulties and questions about how the funds are managed.
The construction of a Greek Orthodox church destroyed in Sept. 11 attacks was temporarily suspended Tuesday as a result of the inability to satisfy payment terms, and questions about how the donations will be used.
The work on the St. Nicholas National Shrine, which was crushed when the south tower fell, it was funded by donations from the Greek government, the Greek-Orthodox members of the church around the world, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and the Italian city of Bari, whose patron saint is St. Nicholas.
The costs for the construction of the new building was estimated at $50 million, but by the end of December estimates rose to around $75 million, according to The New York Times.
After two companies were hired to investigate for the construction, Skanska usa, the lead of a company in the project, ordered a delay.
File 2017: A construction worker walks in front of the St. Nicholas National Shrine in New York.
“The archdiocese is full of confidence and hope that the construction will be resumed in the very near future and is guaranteed by Skanska … that they are looking to the dissolution of the temporary suspension to continue to work together in cooperation with the archdiocese for the completion of the construction project,” a statement from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to read.
The archdiocese had reported last fall that the suffering of “severe and complex” financial debt, but Skanska said that the discussed alternatives and payment terms to keep the project going.
The Times reported that the result of a breach of trust between many of the 1.5 million parishioners of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the archdiocese has itself recognized, as rich donors and the humble parishioners wonder if their donations were used appropriately.
“We regret that the stop work was the only viable option at this point in time,” Skanska usa Executive Vice President Tom Webb said in a statement Tuesday. “We are confident that they will find the funding to complete this work at some point in the future.”
The St. Nicholas-altar, intended as a salve for the faithful and a welcoming space for those who want to think, was inspired by two Byzantine shrines in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia and the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora. The building was clad with marble from the quarries north of Athens, the vein of marble used for the construction of the henon.
The original St. Nicholas was much more modest. The building is located in a tavern by the Greek immigrants, bought it in 1919 to use as a church. It was the only building that is not part of the trade center complex was demolished after hijackers flew commercial planes into the towers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.