Churches / Temples / Mosques, California
So, you are thinking of visiting Los Angeles and surrounding area but think that there is nothing absolutely gorgeous to see. Well, think again and check out the San Juan Capistrano Mission. Read more on my San Juan Capistrano page.
San Juan Capistrano
Located in Angels Gate Park is the Korean Friendship Bell. It sits in a park like setting overlooking a fantastic view of the ocean. A fitting place for it.
The inscription on the bell (not easy to read, but I think I got it):
The people of the Republic of Korea present this bell to the People of the United States of America in celebration of the American Bicentennial Jubilee and in commemoration of a century of friendship and trust between our two peoples. The people of United States have built up on the foundation of their pioneer spirit and aspiration for independence a free and prosperous nation on a new continent. Their achievements serve as an impetus and inspiration for the devotion of all mankind. The traditional amity between our two peoples has been established upon this shared faith in freedom and independence.
When Korea suffered under the yoke of foreign rule, the people of the United States came forward as encouraging friends with the victory of the United States in World War II, Korea unflagging patriotic struggle initially attained the goal of national liberation.
In serving to preserve freedom the United States and The Republic of Korean are inseparable allies linked by these forged in blood. This is a fraternity of mutual; trust, which shall remain forever enhanced. May this bell ring and sound forth. The hope and resolve of our two nations in their common devotion to finding prosperity, liberty, and peace.
Facility Hours of Operation:
Angels Gate Park: Sunrise to Sunset
Angels Gate Office hours vary.
Typical hours: Monday - Friday: 9:30 am – 5:30 pm; Saturday, Sunday: By Appointment. Holidays - Closed
The church was built of cut stone, brick and mortar (1791-1805), and is the oldest structure of its kind south of Monterey, Ca. The pulpit, on the right as you face the sanctuary, is the original. The main alter was made in Mexico City and brought here in the 1790's. The wooden polychrome statues were hand carved in Spain. During the 1812 earthquake the altar and Crucifix were damaged. The statues fell and were broken into pieces. Repairs on these were completed in 1813. The statues and altar were again restored in 1993. The founding missionaries had made the long journey from San Diego, and just as they were delibarating as to an exact site for the mission they were met by a group of Tongva Inidans who seemed determined to drive them away. One of the priest took the approximately 300 year old painting of "Our Lady of Sorrows" and spread it on the ground for the indians to see. The indians were so impressed with the beauty they offered signs of friendship.
Museum building was constructed in 1812 of adobe brick with a tiled roof and was almost 300 feet long. Originally composed of a series of rooms: weaving room, granary, carpenter shops, and sleeping quarters for the mission fathers. The Vestment Room contains a remarkable collection of garments dating back to the 17th century that were used by the mission fathers. Some other artifacts ae a small rosewood organ brought from France about 1821, book dating back to 1489, and a Spanish bedroom set dated 1623. The Aboriginal Paintings of the 14 Stations of the Cross are probably the oldest indian sacred pictorial art in California. It was said olive oil was used as the base and the colors were from wild flowers.
The Rev. Robert H. Schuller and his wife Arvella founded the Garden Grove Community Church - today's Crystal Cathedral - in 1955 . They started having services in the Orange Drive-in Theatre. From atop the snack bar's tar-papered roof he would lead weekly services, with Arvella providing music from a trailer-mounted electronic organ. He encouraged all to "come as you are in the family car. The congregation grew by thousands and in the 1970's, the "Hour of Power" was reaching all 50 U.S. states - and the local church was bursting at the seams. Dedicated in 1980, the 10,000-window Crystal Cathedral seats 2,800 worshipers and its marble chancel accommodates up to 1,000 musicians. Years ahead of its time in conservation design, the Cathedral employs no air-conditioning, relying instead upon natural air currents, which come via staggered rows of louvered windows, controlled thermostatically. Also part of this cooling system are two dramatic 90-foot-tall doors, which open at the right of the chancel - a feature carried over from the Neutra sanctuary. Sadly, the church has landed on hard times and went into bankrupcy and had to sell the church. The Catholic Church has bought it and the name has been renamed to Christ Cathedral. I've always wanted to see it in person, so while visiting Disneyland, we drove down here before we headed home. This is something to see in person. Very impressive and massive. So myself and my sons explored the grounds and were very impressed with all the sculptures and buildings. We were not able to go inside the chapel, but at least you can look in.
The oldest European-based settlements and buildings in California are the Spanish-Mexican missions and the towns that grew up around some of them. These number 21 missions and several support settlements, ranging from Mission San Diego de Alcala in an Diego in the south to Mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma in the north. The mission system was created long the El Camino Real as both missionary outposts and a method of securing settlement and developing agriculture, etc., along the coastal stretch that the Spanish and Mexicans settled. They were spaced apart to allow safe travelling along the road, making it possible for travellers to travel in what was then a barely inhabited, vast, and barely known expanse of land, with safety and services always close by.
The earliest, such as San Diego, San Carlos Borromeo (Carmel), and San Antonio de Padua, and San Francisco de Asis (Dolores in San Francisco) were founded between 1769-1776, the last two, San Rafael and the Sonoma missions, were found in 1817 and 1823.
Some, such as San Rafael, are tiny and simple, while others, such as Santa Barbara and Carmel, are substantial structures, very large or very ornate.
Some are complete replicas, like San Rafael, while others, like San Miguel Arcangel, are largely original, yet most are partly reconstructed but partly original and still basically original sites.
Their settings vary. Some like San Francisco/Dolores and San Diego are in large urban areas radically altered from the Mexican era, others like San Juan Bautista and Sonoma are in small towns that still retain much of their Mexican-era layout and atmosphere. Yet others, like Soledad and San Antonion de Padua, are remote and surrounded by open countryside.
At the moment, unfortunately, one of the most important of all the mission structures, San Miguel Arcangel, with original Spanish artwork, is falling apart and, damaged by an earthquake in 2003, is closed. Otherwise, they are open to visitors and many include substantial remains not only of the main buildings, but of complexes and cemeteries, and have other Spanish/Mexican-era buildings nearby.
They are all along or near Highway 101, which largely follows the same basic route, slightly shifted, as the old Spanish highway, El Camino Real. This is marked with bronze bells along the entire route and in some areas, like San Juan Bautista, the original road still exists alongside the mission.
I loved the visit to the Basilica. I took some time to look around in the mission and feel the peaceful and quiet atmosphere. In the rooms you could see how life here used to be. It just works on my imagination when I look at it....
Just take a moment and look at this room, see the bed, no more than some pieces of timber... the cross, the wooden chair and the little writing desk. There is nothing at all on the walls and looking down I see the seemingly cold stone floor.... doesn't that make you think? Could you live like this?
I would have loved to have stayed here a bit longer and soak in a bit more of this serene atmosphere. But I had to move on, otherwise I would never arrive in San Simeon in the evening. But I was here long enough to get a good impression, and I would say this mission is really worth a visit.
Visiting hours :
Monday - Saturday 9:30 - 4:15 pm
Sunday 10:15 - 4:15 pm
June 1 - August 31 : 9:30 - 7:15 pm
Saturday 5:30 pm
Sunday :7, 8, 9:30, 11, 12:30
Take a look at my Carmel page for more photos and info.
The California mission chain provides an important insight into California's Spanish heritage. The missions make up some of the state's most interesting historical landmarks. Beginning from San Diego in 1769 the "Sacred Expedition" led by Father Junipero Serra built over the 54 years a chain of 21 missions at approximately 30 miles (~48 km) distance from each other along the El Camino Real ("The Royal Road"). The missionaries wanted to bring religion to the natives and the indians living within the mission compounds were taught Spanish and religion along with trades such as farming, brickmaking, weaving etc. Unfortunately many indians died from European diseases against which they weren't protected.
I've seen quite a few of the Spanish missions ever since I've been living in California. The most beautiful in the chain is in my opinion the Mission at Carmel, San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo.
The California Missions. There are 21 Missions established by Franciscan monks in Californa. The most southern in San Diego (est. 1769) up to San Francisco (est. 1823) This is a great way to learn about early Spanish settlement in California.
SAN DIEGO -
The Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in La Jolla -
The Chrystal Cathedral in Garden Grove. Over 10000 windows were set in place in unitized panels to build this vitreous church.