Completed in 2002, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles. The ultra-modern edifice was designed by the Spanish architect, Rafael Moneo, who chose a style that fits well in an area of Downtown Los Angeles known for its avant-garde designs. Prior to the transfer of the archdiocese here, the main cathedral church of Los Angeles was Saint Vibiana, an 1876 Baroque/Neoclassical structure located in Little Tokyo nearby. However, it was severely damaged in the 1994 earthquake, and instead of demolishing it, a whole new cathedral was built on a different site. Saint Vibiana was subsequently deconsecrated and the structure was incorporated into a newly built branch of the Public Library. Many of the items in its interior were transferred to the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
No surprise, a modern city like LA has a weird building for cathedral, with a sandy yellow exterior. Some people find it elegant but it is like an ugly museum, with no spiritual feeling/touch if you ask me, full or artworks, sculptures and dozen of decorative arts in little galleries. The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles was designed by Jose Rafael Moneo in 1996 with the cost going up to $300 million..! Maybe, that’s why they ask $5 to light a candle now! And yes, there is a gift shop! Oh my God! :)
Although I prefer to visit dark cathedrals I liked the cross-shaped opening above the altar that lets the sunlight comes inside.
Outside of the church we noticed some murals of the Mexican artist Lalo Garcia. It’s called Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a nonfinished work (and yes, they ask donations so to finish it :) )
The photographs are placed in order of below descriptions.
#1~From the main entrance is the South Ambulatory and along the wall is a mini chapel in honor of Our Lady of the Angels. The beautiful statue of Mary by Italian artist Professor Eugenio Pattarino was commissioned by Cardinal James Francis McIntyre in the 1950s. http://www.olacathedral.org/
In the early 13th century, Majorca was one of the major ports used by trading vessels travelling between Spain and Italy. Regardless of it’s place of origin, the tin-glazed ceramics being imported into Italy, through Majorca, came to be referred to as Maiolica (Majolica in English). It was not long before the Italians started to create their own tin-glazed pottery, initially functional items. It was during the Renaissance, when art for the sake of art starts to be seen, that the talented Italian ceramists and artists elevate decorating pottery to the artform that remains to this day. http://www.italianmajolica.com/majolica/history.html
#2~Installed at the end of the south ambulatory of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is the 17th Century, gilded, black walnut, Spanish Baroque retablo, the Spanish word for "retabl." A retablo is a shelf raised above the back of an altar to support ornaments, pictures, and statues from sacred history. http://www.olacathedral.org/
The information sign reads: The Ezcaray Retablo Conservation Project. After more than a year of intensive conservation treatment, Griswold Conservation Associates has installed the Ezcaray Retablo in its new permanent home in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Many square feet of old restorations have been carefully removed to reveal the original guilding and painted estofado decoration, remarkably well preserved after over 300 years. Flaking and crumbling portions have been stabilized, and inappropriate additions have been removed. The sculpture and other elements have been secured to a specially built mounting system to help support the piece seismically. Conservation work continues under the direction of conservator John Griswold. The final stages of "loss compensation" are underway, where the most distracting areas of missing gold and paint are subtly reintegrated using reversible inpaintng techniques. The project was made possible with funding by the Getty Trust. Brian Considine, Chief of Decorative Arts Conservation at the J. Paul Getty Museum, contributed expertise and scientific analysis. The installation crew was provided by FAE International and Dean & Associates.
#3~Above the main entrance is the a beautiful sculpture of “Our Lady of the Angels” by Robert Graham. She is to many: Saint Mary, Blessed Virgin Mary, Virgin Mary, Queen Mother, Queen of Heaven, Holy Mary, Blessed Virgin, Our Lady, Holy Virgin, Christ Mary, Maryam~ Chosen One and Mother of God.
#4~ “The Neophyte” by Paul Gustave DORÉ
The information sign:
History of The Neophyte
Dr. Armand Hammer donated “The Neophyte” to the City of Los Angeles in 1972. The painting was installed in the Gallery Theatre at Barnsdall Art Park and unveiled at a gala event attended by Dr. Hammer and then Mayor Yorty. An important 19th Century French artist, illustrator, etcher, sculptor and painter, Paul Gustave DORÉ, (1833–83) born in Strassburg, completed “The Neophyte” a few years before his death. The painting is a wonderful example of his skill, both as a technician and storyteller. The subject matter of monks and the neophyte is a theme Dore re-visited several time during his life. Critics note that his choice of color and dramatic use of light and shadow are particularly effective in this painting.
The rest of the information discusses the extensive conservation process it took to repair the damage of the years.
#5~The last is a beautiful painting by Martinez. I have information on this individual. I am still researching it.
Built in 2002, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels was built to replace the Cathedral of Saint Vibiana that was built in 1857 and serviced the community as the primary parish for Los Angeles until it was badly damaged by the 1994 Northridge earthquake. It was decided by the Archdiocese that it would be too costly to repair it, so the Archdiocese had started to even dismantle it so they could build a new cathedral. Saint Vibiana had been on the National Trust for Historic Preservation list, but had been removed....hmmm. Yet, citizens of Los Angeles stopped the demolishing and after much debates and court battles, the city decided to sell the Archdiocese a different area to build. So, Saint Vibiana was saved by a developer who incorporated the structure into a new developmentVibiana. So many of the historical artifacts was removed from Saint Vibiana and incorporated into the new cathedral.
Building began in 1997 and completed by 2002. The cathedral covers 5.6 acres, 12-story high, 58,000 square feet complex, 2.5 acre plaza, several gardens, water features, gift shop, Galero Grill, conference center, and cathedral parish offices, and the cathedral rector. Every inch of the cathedral is dedicated to worship and prayer. It has incorporated many lovely pieces of art to be enjoyed by all. The doors are open for all those who wish to visit and explore. The design is simple, but astonishing beautiful.
7:00 a.m. English/ Inglés
12:10 p.m. English/ Inglés
8:00 a.m. English/ Inglés
10:00 a.m. English/ Inglés
12:30 p.m. Spanish/ Español
Inside the Cathedral is huge, but simple. Directly from the web site and I could never say it any better: "There are two underlying theological truths essential to understanding the design of the Cathedral Church. The first is the LIGHT of God revealed in salvation history, especially in and through Jesus Christ. The second is the sense of JOURNEY which describes our evolving relationship with God. We are on the journey, alone and together as the People of God, on pilgrimage, towards redemption in our lives. Therefore, as we walk away from the darkness of evil, we move towards the saving Light of Christ and the fullness of the Kingdom of God in Heaven."(http://www.olacathedral.org) It was these two things that inspired architect Professor José Rafael Moneo that he based his design on these principals. I think he did an excellent job.
If you look towards the front where the beautiful pipe organ, some of the orginal pipe organ from Saint Vibiana was incorporated into the new one. Along the walls you will notice some huge tapestry. These represent the "Communion of Saints" by John Nava of twenty-five fresco-like tapestries depict 135 saints and blesseds from around the world, including holy men and women of North America canonized by the Church along with those who believe in their faith.
In the foreground is the life-size, bronze crucifix for the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels was designed by sculptor Simon Toparovsky.
Designed in 1996 by Spanish architect José Rafael Moneo, the cathedral is hemmed by an intersection and freeway on a steeply sloping site. The project was for a traditional building type set within one of America's most modern cities. The resulting church is a successful, interesting and moving embrace of contemporary aesthetics, planning principles, and building technology, with traditional planning, artwork, materials, and liturgical function. It is worth your while to stop by the booth by the entrance to pick up a brief guide that explains the great variety of sculpture and decorative arts either from old collections or specially-made for this church. The interplay of old and new strengthens the character of each. Throughout, light plays a central role in the design, and is modulated through thin sheets of alabaster to give a soft and warm quality to the interior, even those parts that are brute concrete (as seen in the photo). The contrast between this buiding and its geographic and chronological neighbor Gehry's Disney Auditorium, is striking.
"Controversial" It's in any article discussing the monstrosity know as The Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels. On one hand, you have those put off by the building's exorbitant cost($300 Million). On the other, legions deriding the stark modernist design(Mexican architect Rafael Moneo). Yes, a $300 Million sanctuary just blocks from LA's infamous skid row does raise an eyebrow or two, and yes, the design is, in many ways, just plain ugly. But, let's examine: The Catholic Church spending a fortune on itself? Old news. That's just tradition at this point. Design: Well, the exterior's sandstone hue references California Missions, & the edifice's site, looming over the 101 FWY suggests the ancient cathedrals of Europe: looming over waterways & the path of man. But, it's the design's details that most succeed.
The main entrance is set to the side of the building, near the street: modest in comparison to the Cathedral's size. Another, on the opposite side of the facade. By eschewing a grand main entrance, the architect has created entryways devoid of spectacle, & therefore more embracing and equalizing of its worshippers. The interior continues this theme, with a sanctuary largely devoid of separate seating. In addition, the alignment of the pews is slightly askew of the building's walls, creating a sense of shared space by with no rigid lines. And, the tabernacle is a modest, low rising pedestal level with the worshippers insuring that the priest is part of the devotees, not a separate figure. Add to this tapestries depicting latin saints, a mission theme, a warm interior & you have to applaud - to some degree. By contrast you have to deride the streetside gates spurning pedestrian traffic, the tacky giftshop with Cathedral branded wine(!!), a patio restaurant, and, most offensive: $5 to light a candle?
So, see the third largest cathedral in the world...& judge for yourself.
Interesting pics and info here:
After finding that Saturday morning LA traffic isn't so bad, I found myself with an extra hour before my LA Conservancy tour so when I saw the street signs pointing to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels, I found a metered parking spot on the street (garage parking also available for a fee) and went inside the controversial Cathedral that was opened in 2002.
The unconventional and expensive Cathedral, designed by Jose Rafael Moneo, is hard to miss once you know that you are not looking for a gothic stone building but rather a beige mammoth concrete building lurking over the Hollywood freeway. The interior is vast and sparsely decorated, the sunlight pouring through translucent windows of Spanish alabaster instead of the traditional stained glass.
On this Saturday morning I paused to watch a group of young children being whipped into shape for what I assumed was a confirmation ceremony by a stern nun concerned with their spacing on their march down the seemingly endless aisle.
Perhaps Los Angeles is not so twisted after all. There is more than just a sense of the angelic here-perhaps the angels do exist!
The new city cathedral, Our Lady of the Angels, is not only a spirtual but a new tourist attraction in downtown. The cathedral is a must-see for Catholics, architectural buffs and just those who want a nice place to relax.
OLA is the official cathedra, or chair of the Archdiocese, as led by the honorable (or some would say controversial) Roger Mahony. (Inquire about stories of priest abuse scandal in the Los Angeles area to understand the controversial opinion.)
What a beautiful structure architects have created here in the heart of L.A. The sandy yellow exterior is like the hue of old California missions. The main entrance of the cathedral is through giant bronzed boors on the south side.
The grounds serve as a beautiful place to roam around to contemplate. Here I have thought which course to take in my life- and specifically which bus route to take out of the area.
While some cathedrals are found near running rivers, OLA is off the river of automobiles on the 101 freeway. It's too bad the flow is not so swift here, especially the during the morning and afternoon rush hours.
See website for info on mass, parking info, hours of operation and more.
The Catherdal is fairly new and built to replace the old St Vibianas cathedral that was damaged in the northridge earthquake. The place looks very modern, and not what you would picture a cathedral to look like. At least not me. The architecture is beautiful with a very open floor plan in the main sanctuary.
It surrounded by gardens and fountains, has a cafe, gift shop and reception room for parties and celebrations. The St. Vibianas chapel and mausoleum is downstairs where you can see the beautiful stained glass windows. You can easily spend a few hours just looking at the sculptures, the gardens, the architecture, and having a bite to eat in the cafe.
Tours are free and available Monday-Friday at 1:00pm. Parking on Sunday is free for 3hrs with mass attendance after three hours its $5 flat rate. If you go mon-fri, its 90 min free with mass attendance.