GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (AP) — Southern California's landmark Crystal Cathedral has been given a new name as the evangelical church transforms into a Catholic cathedral.
The iconic, glass-paned megachurch, founded by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, was sold to the the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange last year. On Saturday, Bishop Tod Brown renamed it Christ Cathedral during a priest ordination and named the Rev. Christopher H. Smith to the top post of the new church.
The Garden Grove cathedral's name came after more than 4,100 submissions from Catholics all over the world.
Mr. Schuller retired in 2006 after seeing his ministry, which began at a drive-in movie theater, evolve into a global televangelist empire. But after a botched leadership transition to his son, donations began to plummet, and in 2010 the Crystal Cathedral sought bankruptcy protection.
The diocese bought the 2,900-seat church and its grounds for $57.7 million. It will have to renovate the building for Catholic worship before services can begin.
Meanwhile, the Crystal Cathedral congregation, which will be moving about a mile away to St. Callistus Catholic Church in June 2013, will have to renovate that church for the "Hour of Power" broadcasts.
Father Smith told the Los Angeles Times that at a recent meeting with Mr. Schuller, the televangelist said he always had Jesus Christ in mind when conceptualizing the church.
"And now, as it turns out, the cathedral is going to be named Christ Cathedral," he said.