Christ Cathedral (Garden Grove, California)
The cathedral in 2007
|Previous denomination||Reformed Church in America (1980–2013)|
|Founder(s)||Robert H. Schuller|
|Dedicated||1980 (Crystal Cathedral)|
2019 (Christ Cathedral)
|Consecrated||1980 Protestantism Church|
2019 Catholic Church
|Rector||Christopher H. Smith|
Christ Cathedral, formerly the Crystal Cathedral, is an American church building of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, located in Garden Grove, California. The reflective glass building, designed by postmodern American architect Philip Johnson, seats 2,248 people. The church was touted as "the largest glass building in the world" when it was completed in 1981. The building has one of the largest musical instruments in the world, the Hazel Wright Memorial organ.
Until 2013, the building was the principal place of worship for Crystal Cathedral Ministries (now Shepherd's Grove), a congregation of the Reformed Church in America, founded in 1955 by Robert H. Schuller. Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed for bankruptcy in October 2010 and in February 2012 sold the building and its adjacent campus to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange for use as the diocese's new cathedral. The building, especially the interior, was renovated to accommodate the Roman Catholic liturgy, whilst maintaining some of its signature architectural features.
Origins and constructionEdit
The Garden Grove Community Church was founded in 1955 by Robert H. Schuller and his wife Arvella. An affiliate of the Reformed Church in America, the church first held services in space rented from the Orange Drive-In Theatre.
The congregation moved to the present Christ Cathedral campus in 1971, erecting a building now known as the Arboretum, designed by architect Richard Neutra, as its initial sanctuary. In 1968, the congregation completed the Tower of Hope to provide office and classroom space but continued growth led to the need for a new facility. Schuller commissioned architect Philip Johnson to design a unique facility with walls made of glass. The design was an outgrowth of Johnson's reexamination of German expressionist architect Hermann Finsterlin. Construction of the Crystal Cathedral began in 1977 and was completed in 1980, built at a cost of $18 million. The signature rectangular panes of glass comprising the building are not bolted to the structure; they are glued to it using a silicone-based glue. This and other measures are intended to allow the building to withstand an earthquake of magnitude 8.0. The building was constructed using over 10,000 rectangular panes of glass. Dr. Schuller is said to have exclaimed that it looked like a crystal cathedral when he first saw the architect's model of the completed design, perhaps unintentionally giving the building its original name.
Upon moving from the old Neutra sanctuary to the new Johnson sanctuary in 1981, the congregation changed its name to the "Crystal Cathedral" – an alliteration derived from the appearance of the building. In fact, the building was neither made of crystal nor intended to be a true cathedral – that is, a church that houses a bishop's official seat (cathedra) – by that congregation. The congregation added the Prayer Spire in 1990.
Beginning in 2010, creditors of Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed lawsuits to collect money due to them for providing goods, services and broadcasting The Hour of Power weekly TV show. A board member said that the total debt was $55 million.
The church's board filed for bankruptcy October 18, 2010, citing $43 million in debt including a $36 million mortgage and $7.5 million in other debt. Church officials said that they had been trying to negotiate payments but after several suits were filed and writs of attachment were granted the church had to declare bankruptcy.
Purchase by the Diocese of OrangeEdit
On July 7, 2011, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, which had previously purchased land and started planning for construction of a new and larger cathedral in Santa Ana because growth of the diocese had rendered Holy Family Cathedral in Orange too small for diocesan functions, announced that it was "potentially interested" in buying the Crystal Cathedral campus for future use as its diocesan cathedral. There were three major factors that motivated the interest of the Diocese of Orange in the property:
- Its central location within the diocese made it more accessible to parishioners than the Santa Ana site,
- The cost of renovating the Crystal Cathedral building for Catholic worship would be far less than that of constructing a new building from scratch, and
- The other buildings on the campus would provide facilities for diocesan administrative offices and ministries with little modification, further reducing the cost of the whole project.
Two weeks later, the diocese increased its initial offer of $50 million to $53.6 million which included a lease-back provision at below market rates for a period of time. On November 17, 2011, a federal judge approved selling the Crystal Cathedral to the Diocese of Orange for $57.5 million.
Days after the judge's ruling, Italian newspaper La Stampa used a picture of the Crystal Cathedral to illustrate an article reporting on the establishment of a Vatican commission "to put a stop to garage style churches, boldly shaped structures that risk denaturing modern places for Catholic worship". The Vatican approved the use of the building two weeks after the judge's ruling.
The sale to the diocese was finalized on February 3, 2012. Under the terms, Crystal Cathedral Ministries was allowed to lease most of the campus including the church for up to three years; the diocese offered Crystal Cathedral Ministries a longer-term lease at nearby St. Callistus Church, a parish the diocese later transferred to the Crystal Cathedral campus and renamed Christ Cathedral Parish. The transfer of the cemetery located on the campus was immediate, and the diocese established offices on the campus soon after. Tod Brown, Bishop of Orange at the time, stated that the diocese would hire an architect to renovate the interior of the facility to make it suitable for the Roman Catholic liturgy, but that it did not intend to substantially change the exterior.
On June 9, 2012, the diocese announced that the new parish would be known as "Christ Cathedral" when it becomes the diocese's new cathedral, and that Fr. Christopher Smith will be Rector & Episcopal Vicar. The church's new patronal name was designated by the Holy See, while suggestions were also taken from the diocese and its members. In October 2012, the diocese held its first event at the cathedral, the 7th Orange County Catholic Prayer Breakfast. Prayer was held as part of the event, but the diocese did not celebrate Mass in the cathedral building until its solemn dedication after completion of the renovation. In the interim, the former St. Callistus Parish, which had relocated to the campus from its previous campus a couple blocks away and officially assumed the name Christ Cathedral Parish, held its Masses and other liturgies in the building known as The Arboretum -- the very building which had served as the sanctuary church for Dr. Schuller's congregation before the opening of the Crystal Cathedral building.
Crystal Cathedral Ministries held its final worship service in the Crystal Cathedral building on June 30, 2013. That congregation held its first service at the campus of the former St. Callistus Church, which it renamed Shepherd's Grove, on July 7, 2013. The new location is 12921 Lewis Street at Garden Grove Boulevard, one mile south of the Crystal Cathedral building. At the same time, St. Callistus Parish moved to the Crystal Cathedral campus, celebrating its in the Arboretum -- the very building that served as Dr. Schuller's first sanctuary on the campus -- until the completion of the renovations to the Crystal Cathedral/Christ Cathedral building. St. Callistus Catholic school moved into the former Crystal Cathedral Academy facility, changing its name to Christ Cathedral Academy, in September 2013.
On September 24, 2014, the diocese released its proposed redesign plans for the building, including extensive changes to the interior intended to make the building more suitable for the "altar-centered" Catholic ritual while retaining some qualities of the original design. Among the changes, the glass walls will be lined with angled "petals" that will reduce the amount of outside light, deemed as distracting from the altar. At the same time, the petals will include exterior lights to enhance the building's visibility at night, producing an effect described as a "box of stars". The route from the parking lot to the plaza will be lined with crape myrtle trees, symbolizing the "beginning" of holiness in progression to the altar. The Hazel Wright Organ was disassembled and shipped back to Italy for an extensive restoration; it was also painted white so that it will not distract from the altar. To reflect the diversity of the Catholic community in the region, the reliquary of its altar will conceal donated first-class relics connected to saints of American, Korean, Mexican and Vietnamese descent, including the Canadian Martyrs, Andrew Dũng-Lạc, Junípero Serra, Andrew Kim Taegon, and Rafael Guízar y Valencia.
From the proceeds of a "For Christ Forever" fundraising campaign held in 2012, the diocese allocated $59 million towards the cost of renovating the cathedral. In 2014, an anonymous benefactor contributed $20 million in additional funding. However, it was later found that the estimates were reached without "serious study or professional recommendations"; in July 2016, it was estimated that the total cost of the renovations, as originally planned, would actually be $108 million. The diocese established a taskforce to reduce the cost of the project to $72 million, which was accomplished by using a marble veneer altar instead of solid marble, using a lower-cost source of stone of an equivalent quality rather than importing it from Italy, and planning to "keep the bones of the building intact". On May 25, 2017, the diocese signed general contractor Snyder Langston for the renovation, with construction slated to begin on June 1, 2017, and expected to be completed by late-2018.
On June 29, 2018, the Bishop of Orange, Kevin Vann, proclaimed a "holy year of preparation" ahead of the consecration. The formal dedication Mass was held on July 17, 2019; at that time, Vann solemnly dedicated the former Crystal Cathedral building as Christ Cathedral and the building canonically assumed that name. A formal celebration event and Pacific Symphony concert was held on July 13, 2019, ahead of the dedication Mass.
The church's 273 rank, five manual pipe organ is the fifth largest organ in the world. Constructed by Fratelli Ruffatti and based on specifications by Virgil Fox and expanded by Frederick Swann, the instrument incorporates the large Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ built in 1962 for New York's Philharmonic Hall (now David Geffen Hall), and the Ruffatti organ which had been installed in the church's previous sanctuary. Swann was organist at the Crystal Cathedral from 1982 to 1998. Following the Crystal Cathedral's final Hour of Power in June 2013, the organ was dismantled for a $2 million refurbishing led by Ruffatti. Re-installation of the renovated organ is expected to be complete in February 2019.
- Rojas, Rick (November 26, 2013). "Catholic Renovation of Crystal Cathedral to Begin". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- "Cathedral Transformation FAQs".
- David Ferrell (April 6, 2015). "Crystal Cathedral founder Robert Schuller achieved his vision, but couldn't sustain it". Orange County Register.
- Epstein, Benjamin (May 15, 1996). "Crystal Clear Devotion: Cathedral's Organist Will Be Happy to Solo With Four Seasons Symphony on Home Turf". Los Angeles Times.
- "The Top 20 – The World's Largest Pipe Organs". Sacred Classics. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Desmond, Joan Frawley (August 19, 2013). "The Crystal Cathedral Becomes Christ Cathedral". National Catholic Register. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Esquivel, Paloma (September 24, 2014). "Diocese of Orange unveils planned alterations for former Crystal Cathedral". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
- "Catholics stage first event at Crystal Cathedral". Orange County Register. October 11, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- KANDIL, CAITLIN YOSHIKO (July 18, 2019). "Crystal Cathedral is reborn as Christ Cathedral, the center of O.C. Catholicism". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
- Taxin, Amy (October 18, 2010). "Crystal Cathedral Bankruptcy: Megachurch Files For Chapter 11". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- "Da Monsta". The Glass House. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
- Lindsey, Robert (May 15, 1980). "Opening of Glass Cathedral Is a Feast for Eyes and Ears" (PDF). The New York Times. p. A20. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
- "Garden Grove Church". GreatBuildings.com. 1979. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
- Smith, Lynn (September 18, 1990). "Garden Grove : Architects Praise Spire at Cathedral". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
- "Crystal Cathedral Owes $7.5M To Small Business Owners". KCBS-TV News. October 16, 2010. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Bharath, Deepa (May 15, 2014). "Crystal Cathedral, creditors at $7.5 million impasse". The Orange County Register. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
- Cathcart, Rebecca (October 18, 2010). "California's Crystal Cathedral Files for Bankruptcy". The New York Times. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Bharath, Deepa (May 26, 2011). "Crystal Cathedral to be sold to pay millions in debt". The Orange County Register. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
- Medlin, Marianne (July 8, 2011). "Southern California diocese considers buying Crystal Cathedral". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- "Orange diocese increases bid for Crystal Cathedral". National Catholic Reporter. Catholic News Agency. August 15, 2011. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Taxin, Amy (November 17, 2011). "Crystal Cathedral to be sold to Catholic diocese". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. Archived from the original on December 4, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Taxin, Amy (November 17, 2011). "Judge approves Crystal Cathedral sale to diocese". San Diego Union Tribune. Archived from the original on June 14, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- Tornielli, Andrea (November 21, 2011). "New Vatican commission cracks down on church architecture". La Stampa. Archived from the original on May 2, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- "Cement cubes, glass boxes, crazy shapes". California Catholic Daily. November 22, 2011. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Gibson, David (January 6, 2012). "Some see Crystal Cathedral's purchase by Catholic diocese as calculated risk". Baptist Standard. Religion News Service. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Campbell, Ronald (February 4, 2012). "Crystal Cathedral is sold". The Orange County Register. p. Local 1. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- "Diocese of Orange Formally Acquires Crystal Cathedral and Adjacent Campus". Diocese of Orange. February 3, 2012. Archived from the original on February 4, 2012.
- Medlin, Marianne (November 30, 2011). "A true miracle!". California Catholic Daily. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Palmer, Melissa (June 9, 2012). "Landmark Crystal Cathedral gets a new name – Christ Cathedral". NBC News. Archived from the original on June 15, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- "Catholic Diocese of Orange Announces Cathedral Name" (Press release). Diocese of Orange. June 9, 2012. Archived from the original on December 17, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Cruz, Nicole Santa (February 3, 2012). "Diocese of Orange officially takes over Crystal Cathedral". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Rokhy, Ron (June 30, 2014). "Crystal Cathedral Holds Last Service Before Relocating". NBC Los Angeles. NBCUnviersal Media, LLC. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Baharath, Deepa (May 19, 2017). "Diocese picks contractor for Christ Cathedral's $72 million reconstruction project". Orange County Register. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
- Morino, Douglas (September 9, 2013). "Catholic schoolchildren move into former Crystal Cathedral". Orange County Register. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Hawthorne, Christopher (November 17, 2016). "The Crystal Cathedral redesign: Why tasteful updates add up to architectural disappointment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- "Christ Cathedral organ getting dismantled for Italy trip". Orange County Register. January 31, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- "Redesigned Christ Cathedral: 'You'll be able to see it from a long, long way'". Orange County Register. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Holy relics gifted to Christ Cathedral". occatholic.com. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
- "Changing course: Diocese works to trim price tag of renovating iconic Christ Cathedral". Orange County Register. April 23, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
- "Christ Cathedral Receives $20M From Anonymous Donor; Catholic Diocese to Renovate Former Crystal Cathedral". Christian Post. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
- Luppi, Kathleen (May 25, 2017). "Bishop of Orange signs construction contract for renovation of Christ Cathedral". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
- "Former Crystal Cathedral Begins 'Holy Year of Preparation' for Grand Opening as Catholic Church". Christian Post. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
- "Its remodel underway, Christ Cathedral will look the same — except inside". Orange County Register. June 29, 2018. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
- Luppi, Kathleen (May 17, 2018). "Christ Cathedral construction crews celebrate 100,000 accident-free work hours". Los Angeles times. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
- "Christ Cathedral acquires its first Holy Relic — the bone of a Vietnamese saint". Orange County Register. December 14, 2018. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
- Do, Anh (June 29, 2013). "St. Callistus Catholic Church moves to Crystal Cathedral site". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- "Pacific Symphony starts July with a bang". Orange County Register. July 2, 2019. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
- Berg, Tom (May 17, 2013). "How will church fix Cathedral's organ?". Orange County Register. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- "Christ Cathedral witnesses the rebirth of iconic Hazel Wright pipe organ". Orange County Register. March 3, 2019. Retrieved March 21, 2019.