FLATIRON — A congregation that lost its historic church to a massive fire is raising funds to rebuild.
A week after flames engulfed the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava at 13 W. 25th St., between Sixth Avenue and Broadway, the community has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money to restore the church.
“We are determined to remain at this site and proceed with our foundational mission of good will and love for all people, everywhere,” the church wrote on the fundraising page.
Last week, the FDNY said the fire likely started on the evening of May 1 after a church caretaker put candles in a box without fully extinguishing them — just hours after parishioners celebrated Orthodox Easter Sunday there.
An FDNY spokesman on Monday said fire officials were still focusing on candles as the most likely cause of the fire, adding that the status of the fire remained non-suspicious.
The city's Department of Buildings was still investigating the fire as of Monday.
The department has not issued an “emergency declaration for a demolition,” as the structure doesn’t pose an “immediate stability hazard to the public," a DOB spokesman said.
A private contractor is currently securing the inside of the building with steel netting, and no violations have been found at the site, the spokesman added.
On Sunday, nearly 200 St. Sava’s parishioners attended their first Sunday Mass since the blaze at Calvary Episcopal Church at the corner of East 21st Street and Park Avenue South, the New York Times reported.
The Episcopal Diocese of New York offered the space to St. Sava after the fire, the Times said.
St. Sava’s GoFundMe page had raised $4,875 to support its rebuilding efforts as of Monday.
Over the years, the Orthodox community has spent more than $4.5 million on improvements and restoration efforts at the cathedral, the church wrote on its fundraising page.
“Please give what you can as every dollar counts,” the church wrote. “This first phase of fundraising will help with the arduous recovery ahead.”