SHENANDOAH, Pa. (AP) – A historic church in northeastern Pennsylvania could be torn down within a few weeks unless a legal challenge stops it.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown says St. George Catholic Church in Shenandoah has become a threat to public safety. It was closed in 2006 due to safety concerns and the building hasn't been maintained since then.

Allentown Bishop John Barres announced Thursday night that the church will be torn down. He said the diocese couldn't afford to restore the building.

His announcement came a day after four parishioners went to court to try to prevent the building from being demolished.

St. George is the oldest Lithuanian parish in the United States. The lawsuit asserts that tearing down the building violates both church law and an agreement signed in 2002 by the United States and Lithuania to preserve the property.