Iconic New Zealand church to be demolished
131-year-old Anglican cathedral in Christchurch suffered irreparable damages in 2011 earthquake
New Zealand authorities have decided to tear down a 131-year-old
Anglican cathedral in Christchurch after it was badly damaged in last
year's devastating earthquake. The Victorian-era, Gothic-style
cathedral, long a fixture in Christchurch was badly damaged in the
February 2011 earthquake. Thee quake also killed 185 people and
destroyed large areas of the business center and more than 6,000 homes.
The landmark cathedral was a favorite meeting place and tourist attraction. The church's spire was a symbol of the city. The cathedral will be demolished gradually over a long period of time. Historical features of the building will be preserved.
"The decision we have made has been made with prayer, with great deliberation, and an utmost concern for safety," Bishop Matthews told reporters.
Matthews reported that the cost of rebuilding the church would have been "staggering," at an estimated $42 million to rebuild using existing parts of the building or $84 million for a complete reconstruction.
Matthews said the Anglican Church was committed to creating "a beautiful, inspiring, safe new cathedral." No decision had yet been made on where it would be built and what it would look like.
The landmark cathedral was a favorite meeting place and tourist attraction. The church's spire was a symbol of the city.
The cathedral will be demolished gradually over a long period of time. Historical features of the building will be preserved.
"There will be no bulldozers, there will be no wrecking balls, this will be done with deep love and respect for a building that has served us so well," Matthews said.
City Councilor Aaron Keown says he vows to stop the demolition and said his position enjoyed widespread support amongst citizens who believed the church should be rebuilt at any cost.
"I would be in there chaining myself to the building to stop that and I know lots of other volunteers would come in to do that," he told newspaper reporters.
Matthews said she recognizes there were strong feelings in the city about the issue but said the church "would not be responsible stewards if we ignored the financial realities.
"We acknowledge the high level of community interest and sense of ownership as the cathedral was both an iconic building and a place of regular worship by many," she said.
"However, this is now a very dangerous building that needs to be made safe."
On a national level, New Zealand is facing a $16.5 billion bill to rebuild its second largest city, the center of which remains a restricted area, even a year after the earthquake. Whole city blocks have been reduced to bare land.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: New Zealand, Christchurch, Cathedral, demolition, earthquake
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