The blaze broke out on the Serbian Orthodox Church's Easter Sunday
A historic Manhattan cathedral was gutted in a blaze hours after its Serbian Orthodox parishioners celebrated Easter on Sunday
The fire started Sunday evening and quickly engulfed the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sava in the Flatiron District, the FDNY said.
More than 700 parishioners had celebrated Easter earlier in the day and enjoyed a luncheon, but the cathedral was empty when the fire started.
"It was apocalyptic. Very frightening. And it's a shame," said tourist Herman Tulp.
Members of the Serbian community that worships at the church called the blaze heartbreaking.
A church priest, the Rev. Djokan Majstorovic, told The Associated Press that he felt like he was "in a nightmare" as he tried to get to the fire scene that was blocked off by firefighters.
"This church brought everyone together, because although there are Serbian churches in New Jersey, this is like the only one in New York," Djurdjevic. "This is absolutely horrible. Absolutely horrible. My heart is completely broken."