TAMPA — When the twin towers collapsed 20 years ago this week, so too did St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. It was located in the shadow of tower number 2.
For the past seven years Tampa architect and builder, Pete Karamitsanis, has been making weekly trips to ground zero to help oversee the rebuilding of the church.
Karamitsanis has been a parishioner of St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church in South Tampa for more than 20 years.
“Just to see that church gone and nothing left was very traumatic,” said Karamitsanis. “A whole lot of people wanted to be involved and see the church rise again.”
He has traveled to a dozen different countries compiling the materials.
“The marble stone is from the same quarry as the Parthenon, being is installed at the church,” said Karamitsanis.
He said they aren’t just rebuilding a church, they are erecting an active memorial.
“There are areas in the church for people to go contemplate what happened, grieve if they need to, be quiet, and remember their loved ones that perished,” said Karamitsanis.
He has worked on hundreds of projects during his career, but this one stands out among all the rest, it’s his legacy.
“There are a lot of people in Greece that are watching this project and they are very proud that not only our religion but our ethnicity is demonstrated,” said Karamitsanis.
However, he said it doesn’t matter what religion you are, all denominations will be welcomed.
“It would glow like 10,000 candles and be a beacon of hope and beacon of the significance of good conquering evil,” said Karamitsanis.
The church is scheduled hold its first service this coming Easter.
“St. Nicholas gets resurrected,” said Karamitsanis.