The archbishop blessed the site as a crane lowered the first skylight into the church’s dome.
“To give thanks to the people of New York, who have stood by our side through a long night, to now witness the dome,” said Archbishop Elpidophoros.
The goal is to open the new church on Sept. 11, 2021.
“We are going to open St. Nicholas Church and National Shrine to open as a sign of love, not hate,” Archbishop Elpidophoros continued.
The original St. Nicholas stood for more than a century on Cedar Street. It was the only place of worship demolished in the attack.READ MORE: CDC: 2 Connecticut Counties Now Considered High COVID Transmission Areas
“We are standing where 3,000 human beings were martyred, murdered and slaughtered,” said Michael Psaros, vice chair of Friends of St. Nicholas. “If you look around, this is holy, sacred ground.”
The rebuild started in 2015, but it was plagued with problems. A ballooning budget, misappropriated funds and other issues forced crews to walk away from the project in 2017, leaving behind just a shell of a building, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported.
Help came from private donors who raised more than $45 million earlier this year to restart construction. The coronavirus pandemic, however, led to further delays.
“Now is the time to rally together, to find our strength, to find our solidarity,” said Cuomo. “And to say we are going to build back better and brighter and stronger together.”
Once complete, the building will house a non-denominational bereavement center.MORE NEWS: Man Accused Of Lighting New York City Outdoor Dining Structures On Fire
A beacon of light, the building will glow in the evening, signifying hope after an unimaginable loss.