Bishop Irinej reviews Cathedral construction
On the Feast Day of the Holy Archangels, November 21, 2019, His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America celebrated the Holy and Divine Hierarchical Liturgy, at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Theotokos of the Sign, for the parishioners of St. Sava Cathedral. Concelebrating with him were Fr. Zivojin Jakovljevic and Protodeacon Jovan Anicic.
Following the Festal Liturgy attended by many of the faithful from the Five Boroughs and surrounds, including some Russian faithful, Bishop Irinej paid a visit to his Cathedral See in New York City to review the ongoing, impressive reconstruction endeavor.
Greeting His Grace at the tightly secured entrance gate were Marko Cupkovic, Board of Trustees liaison to the construction team and head of the Building Committee, and Steven Vlahakis, Site Superintendent. Joining them inside the imposing cathedral were Pat and Gerry O’Donoghue, President and Vice-President, respectively, of O’Donoghue Contracting Corp, the latter of whom is is also supervising the construction effort.
Donning his hard hat, His Grace proceeded to review the construction of the new floor, presently consistent of massive 27” deep steel I-beams to which were being riveted sheets of 7” deep corrugated galvanized steel onto which will be poured a cement base, surmounted by floor heating elements, and a final finishing layer.
Simultaneously, the windows were being fitted with framing, in which temporary Plexiglas will be mounted, in order to facilitate the enclosure phase of the construction. Following suit will be the framing of the doorways and the installation of, albeit temporary, substantial metal doors.
It was most impressive to see the 55 degree pitched roof, which soars to the height of almost two stories, fitted with vertically placed sheets of corrugated metal. Soon this sheeting will be covered with marine board and an asphalt membrane, all of which is part of the permanent roof. The membrane will also be laid vertically to assist in the deflection of heat effect, together with a vented vertebrae, to insure the durability of the roof.
The real skill sets of those reconstructing our beloved Cathedral is evidenced in the manner in which the crane skillfully lowers each massive I-beam through the, as of yet, open air altar apse! Following the installation of the new floor, the apse will receive its gracious semi-oval pitched roof, thereby covering the altar area, and finalizing the roof construction.
Having concluded his inspection and informative visitation to the construction site, His Grace met, thereafter, with award winning architect, Don Zivkovic, Project Executive.
As the Saint Sava Cathedral is a national historic landmark, the final exterior finish will be a faithful replica of the original slate roof as mandated by the Landmarks Commission.
Constantly monitored by seven mounted devices that gage vibration and movement of the walls, it has been gratefully reported that the once lone-standing Cathedral walls, which have endured more than 150 years, are now fully secured to continue witnessing to God’s glory.
Immediately following this secure and enclosure phase, we will proceed with the preparing the interior, according to prescribed specifications, for a temporary occupancy permit. This would enable us, from time to time, to serve in the Cathedral Church.
Truly, a work in progress, rising from its ashes like a phoenix – the very image of the Resurrection of Christ – this is the most appropriate manner in which to Mark the conclusion of 2019, as a meaningful year in which we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Orthodox Consecration of the St. Sava Cathedral; the 150th Anniversary of its dedication as Trinity Episcopal Chapel; and all in the embrace of the 800th Anniversary of the Archiepiscopal Consecration of Saint Sava, our Patron Saint, gloriously marking Eight Centuries of the Autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church!