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Christ Cathedral

A symbol of the unity of believers and their Church, the cathedral has been central to Catholic worship for thousands of years.

A cathedral is the diocese’s “mother church” and the core of liturgical life. Today the Diocese of Orange is embarked upon an ambitious campaign to transform the historic Crystal Cathedral into the vibrant heart of the diocese, the unparalleled Christ Cathedral.

In the late 1970s, legendary American architect Philip Johnson and his partner John Burgee presented their designs for an “all-glass church” to Rev. Robert Schuller. Upon seeing the plans, Rev. Schuller exclaimed, “Wow, it looks like a crystal cathedral!” The building was a massive undertaking, taking over two years to complete. Standing 120 feet tall (12 stories), 141 feet long and 207 feet wide, this 78,397-square-foot edifice is constructed entirely of glass and steel. With 10,660 panes of mirrored glass, the cathedral structure is known the world over for its inspiring beauty and breathtaking scale.

Johnson Fain and Rios Clementi Hale Studios, respectively, will redesign the cathedral interior and re-sculpt the campus. The monumental task of converting an all-glass church into a space that is intrinsically Catholic and facilitates contemplative and solemn prayer requires inspired action that combines thoughtful accommodation for sacred ministry while simultaneously honoring of the property’s legacy.

In the cathedral, the landmark architecture of the building shell will be cleaned and restored. Interior improvements on the main floor and mezzanines will upgrade access, sightlines, finishes and environmental comfort. Interior architecture will be designed to host an array of Masses, celebrations, sacraments, services and non-liturgical events. The historic and internationally renowned Hazel Wright Organ is currently being meticulously restored in Italy. Acoustics and lighting will be improved and the new cathedral will be open in renewed form to all. The external façade of this globally recognizable building will remain essentially unchanged.

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