(The partially destroyed ChristChurch Cathedral is seen in central Christchurch on September 7, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)

New Zealand’s Anglican church is to demolish a 131-year-old cathedral in earthquake-devastated Christchurch because it is too dangerous and expensive to rebuild, the stricken city’s bishop said on Friday.

The Victorian-era, Gothic-style cathedral, which dominated the city’s central square, was badly damaged in the February 2011 quake. The 6.3 magnitude quake killed 185 people and destroyed large areas of the business centre and more than 6,000 homes.

The landmark cathedral was a favourite meeting place and tourist attraction, but any chance of saving it was ended by several strong aftershocks that caused more damage.

“The decision we have made has been made with prayer, with great deliberation, and an utmost concern for safety,” Bishop Victoria Matthews told reporters.