US Ambassador to Slovenia Brent Hartley visited the church on Tuesday in the company of Slovenian Ambassador to United Nations Darja Bavdaž Kuret and former ambassador to the US Božo Cerar, to get acquainted with Slovenia's efforts.
Father Martin Krizolog showed the church, which is over 100 years old, and explained why it remains an important point for Slovenians. More than just a place of worship, it is a venue of cultural celebrations, receptions, exhibitions, concerts and other events focused around the Slovenian community in New York.
Cerar said Slovenia was hoping the US would grant the church the special status in agreement with the New York Archdiocese in order to preserve this unique heritage.
The visit comes after the Slovenian government formally endorsed the initiative to protect the church. This would be in accordance with the 1996 agreement, which stipulates that both countries would strive to to protect and preserve the cultural heritage of all national, religious, or ethnic groups that reside or resided in its territory and were the victims of genocide during WWII.
The agreement covers places of worship, sites of historical significance, monuments, cemeteries, and memorials to the dead, as well as related archival materials.
Under this agreement, Slovenia protected the medieval synagogue in Maribor, which was renovated in 2001.
For Slovenia, protection of the Church of St Cyril is the top priority.