A landmark church that was home of a long-running religious broadcast and renowned Easter pageant is reopening tomorrow as a Catholic church.
The famous Crystal Cathedral, the home of evangelical pastor Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power TV show, will reopen starting Saturday and offer 11 masses in four languages, including English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Mandarin. More than 12,000 people are expected at the services.
The 78,000-square-foot church, which takes its name from the 11,000 panes of glass on its outside, is now known as Christ Church,. It was purchased by the Orange County Catholic diocese and underwent a $72.3 million renovation.
Robert Schuller, the televangelist who founded the Crystal Cathedral and reached millions worldwide with his Hour Of Power TV program, died at a care center in Artesia, CA in 2015. He was 88.
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Schuller began his evangelical Protestant ministry in 1955, preaching from atop the snack stand of a Los Angeles drive-in theater. Cloaked in his signature purple robe and large glasses, his measured, smiling delivery went against the grain of many of his lakes-of-fire contemporaries. Schuller started airing Hour Of Power in 1970 and built it into an international religious behemoth, at its peak drawing more than 20 millions viewers worldwide. He hosted the show for four decades, until 2010, more than 30 of those years with his son.
By the early 1980s, Hour Of Power was being broadcast from the Crystal Cathedral, the sprawling, glass-paned church the elder Schuller founded in Garden Grove, CA. But his ministry eventually fell on rough times amid family squabbling and a 2010 bankruptcy. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange acquired the property in 2011, renaming it Christ Cathedral, and Schuller and his wife left the church the following year.
Friendly with Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, Schuller was among the first foreign religious figures invited to preach on Russian television.