New roof being erected over NYC’s St. Sava Cathedral gutted by fire in 2016

New York, June 14, 2019

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The Serbian Orthodox community was devastated in 2016 as their West 25th Street cathedral went up in flames on Pascha morning, leaving only a charred shell of the building that had been originally acquired from the Anglican Chrurch by St. Nicholai Velimirovic.

The restored structure is intended to honor this history, combining the church’s original Gothic Revival external appearance, with an interior modeled after early Byzantine basilicas. The Serbian monasteries of Gradac and Dečani are also examples of such an amalgamation.

Following a year of detailed planning and preparation, His Grace Bishop Irinej of Eastern America celebrated the Invocation of the Holy Spirit to bless the work beginning on clearing and rebuilding the cathedral in August 2017.

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Now, according to two recent reports on the site of the Serbian Eastern American Diocese, the new roof on the cathedral is beginning to take shape. The cathedral building committee announced on May 20 that it had begun site work on erecting the new roof, with steel beams being erected to form the structure. A new steel and reinforced concrete floor is also being installed at the same time.

Bp. Irinej said on the occasion:

It is with humble heart and profound gratitude to the Risen Lord, that we finally began the visible work of reconstruction on our Cathedral Church of St. Sava in Manhattan. Despite the many obstacles along the way, this phase of the reconstruction effort truly signals the beginning of its resurrection from the fire, which consumed the church on Pascha, 2016. Importantly, this sacred task is being undertaken during the jubilee celebration of the 800th Anniversary of the Autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church (1219-2019) and, with it, the consecration of St. Sava as the First Archbishop of the Serbian Lands.

The project is being overseen by Frank Sciame, one of the foremost builders in New York City. This phase of the project is planned to be completed by the fall, allowing for the occasional use of the building in the following months.

A second article from June 7 reports that “the principal steel roof trusses are now in place, bolted and welded, tying together the previously freestanding historic stone walls.” The metal-deck roof covering will soon be installed, contributing to the general stability of the building as a whole.

“At this moment, we give particular thanks our Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ and to our own patron St. Sava, for the structural stabilization of the Cathedral having been finally achieved, and herein acknowledge the untiring work of our pre-eminent Project Team, in getting us to this point,” the report concludes.


Donations to the ongoing reconstruction of the cathedral can be made via Paypal:

If you prefer to mail a donation, you can mail a check payable to “St. Sava Cathedral” to:
Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sava
20 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10010

The Serbian Orthodox Church and School Community of Saint Sava Cathedral is a registered 501(c)(3) organization (EIN #13-2685013). Donations are fully tax deductible in the United States.

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