Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America: Stabilization & Enclosure of St Sava Cathedral Resumes
The present phase of the Cathedral’s reconstruction will be culminating, during the coming months, in our beloved St Sava being once again fully, structurally stable and protected from the ravages of the weather, to which it has been subjected since the Great Fire of Easter, 2016.
The time-consuming work involved in getting to this point has been technically and logistically demanding, requiring careful planning and execution, on the part of our expert team of consultants and contractors: Zivkovic Connolly Architects PC, FJ Sciame Construction LLC, GPJ O’Donoghue Contracting Corp., Old Structures Engineering PC, Slocum Construction Consulting Inc., CGM Engineering PC and Feinstein Iron Works Inc.
It started with the hazardous task of firstly clearing out all of the post-fire debris at ground-level – including scattered stone and charred-timber wreckage – which was a result of both the conflagration and fire-fighting effort itself.
Then, the loose and otherwise compromised structural and non-structural materials overhead were methodically removed, item by item, in order to render the building site as safe as possible, before the actual reconstruction work could begin.
And this latter has eventually comprised in the first instance, among other things, the repair of the interior structural stonework and the installation of new, incombustible steel roof-trusses, floor beams and reinforced-concrete slabs, as well as the initial enclosure of the building with the temporary sealing of the roof and the windows and doors.
Then, beyond the pragmatic too, the ultimate renaissance of our sacred work is being guided by a unifying vision that inevitably draws from a broad base of inspirational sources, ranging from architecture, engineering, geometry, iconography, liturgy and our common history, as a whole. The demanding nature of the challenge to date, which includes just the first critical steps in realizing the ultimate vision of Bishop Irinej of Eastern America for a Byzantine and Gothic synthesis, is described by the Holy Bishop Nicholai as the convergence of East and West:
The light of the East and the light of the West will rest at their noon on the continent, which lies between East and West . . . (“A Serbian’s Vision of America”).
Meanwhile, with the current structural stabilization and enclosure work soon completed, the church is in a position to be making plans for the intermittent use of its interior spaces, in the foreseeable future, even as the next phases of the longer-term reconstruction campaign must continue and which, before we know it, will eventually return the Cathedral to its full historical glory – with East indeed meeting West, once more, in the form of a unique architectural landmark and spiritual enrichment of both the Serbian Orthodox Church and extended community of the faithful in New York City.
— Source: easterndiocese.org