MIAMI (WSVN) — Miami City commissioners have voted to declare Brickell’s Saint Jude Melkite Catholic Church historic.

The City of Miami confirmed the historic designation Friday morning after a long night of deliberation.

Church members sat divided on opposite sides in the commission chambers late last night until the following morning. “We consider it a landmark,” Peter Fernandez said, “just like the Freedom Tower, the Torch of Friendship in Biscayne Boulevard. It’s a very meaningful place. We just want to guarantee it for generations to come.”

Against the designation was the church itself. A statement released earlier before the board read in part: “We must have the freedom to expand the structure to adapt it to the requirements of our worship and to accommodate it to a larger congregation.”

The decision means changes or renovations to the exterior of the church will have to be approved by the city’s preservation board.

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