The 19th century church that was destroyed in a massive fire earlier this year will be back. Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava's Rev. Zivojin Jakovljevic told the NY Post, "We are definitely planning to restore the building, because it’s a place of prayer that has been here for almost two centuries and a place that has welcomed so many of our people."
On May 1st, the Orthodox Easter, a fire broke out in the church, which is located on West 26th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, around 6:50 p.m. While the four-alarm blaze had initially been described as "suspicious," it turned out that the caretaker had left a box of burning candles under a pew.
Moving past worries the Department of Buildings would require them to demolish the building, the congregation has been holding a series of fundraising events—there's a banquet later this week—for the restoration campaign.
An update about the church's stability was posted on its Facebook page in August:
DOB has ordered that for public safety the South Gable wall on 25th Street be reinforced with metal beams, “shoring and bracing”, and top of the walls be covered with a waterproof canvas, as protection against inclement weather and other destructive elements. DOB and LPC have approved the plans developed by Cathedral engineers, explaining the ways in which this work would be accomplished.
The plans will now be forwarded to an appropriate plant where the metal beams can be manufactured for later installation to reinforce the Cathedral walls. It is estimated that this phase of the project will be completed by September 1, 2016. This will enable us to begin the already planned renovation work on the interior of the Parish Hall, estimated to take approximately a year.
The building, a landmark 1851 structure designed by Richard Upjohn, underwent a restoration in the early 2000s; in 2003, the Times reported, "The parishioners have spent about $600,000 on initial stabilization, in part for reinforcement for the roof framing, which was starting to skew out of alignment due to water damage. The church now has about half of the $1.8 million necessary to finish just the roof of the entire church complex."