Fr. Robert Barron of Word on Fire is now Aux. Bishop-Elect of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It’s the largest diocese in the United States in terms of members (5 million), and it dates back to 1840.
It also has one of the most controversial cathedrals in the U.S. due to its modernist design and high cost.
[See also: QUIZ: Modernist Church or Communist Building?]
The previous cathedral for the archdiocese was the Cathedral of St. Vibiana, which opened in 1876. It served the archdiocese for over a hundred years until it was severely damaged in an earthquake in 1994. Rather than try to repair it, the archdiocese sold the church to the city and constructed a new cathedral in a new location. Called the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, it opened in 2002 and cost $250 million.
In addition to its unique design, the cathedral is also noteworthy for having an original relic from St. Juan Diego’s tilma, as well as being the resting place of famed actor Gregory Peck. You can see both of these things and more in the collection of pictures below, but first, let’s start with the cathedral’s design.
For comparison, here’s how the old Cathedral of St. Vibiana looked from the street:
And here’s how the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels looks from the street:
The main face of the new cathedral is viewable from an interior courtyard:
So you can see that there’s quite a stark difference in styles.
The difference in styles is also immediately evident when you step inside.
Here’s how the old cathedral looked on the inside:
And here’s how the new cathedral looks inside:
Whether you like the new design or not, it’s one of the most important churches in the U.S., and probably will remain so for many years to come.
Here’s a tour of the rest of the new cathedral. You can click on any image to enlarge it.