The Crystal Cathedral is a church building in Garden Grove, Orange County, California, in the United States. The reflective glass building, designed by American architect Philip Johnson, was completed in 1981 and seats 2,736 people. The church is known for one of the largest musical instruments in the world, the Hazel Wright Memorial organ.
Since its construction the building has been the principal place of worship for Crystal Cathedral Ministries, a congregation of the Reformed Church in America founded in 1955 by Robert H. Schuller. Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed for bankruptcy in October 2010 and in February 2012 sold the building and its adjacent campus to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange for future use as the diocese's new cathedral. Under the terms of the sale, the building and most of the campus will continue to be used by Crystal Cathedral Ministries for up to three years before being renovated for use as a Roman Catholic cathedral. In June 2012, the diocese announced that "Christ Cathedral" is the intended new name for the church.
Origins and construction 
The Garden Grove Community Church was founded in 1955 by Robert H. Schuller and his wife Arvella. An affiliate of the Reformed Church in America, the church first held services in space rented from the Orange Drive-In Theatre.
In 1961, the congregation moved to a new sanctuary designed by architect Richard Neutra. In 1968, The Tower of Hope was completed, providing office and classroom space. Continued growth led to the need for a new facility. Schuller envisioned a unique facility with walls made of glass and commissioned architect Philip Johnson. Construction on the Crystal Cathedral began in 1977 and was completed in 1980, built at a cost of $18 million. The signature rectangular panes of glass comprising the building are not bolted to the structure; they are glued to it using a silicone-based glue. This and other measures are intended to allow the building to withstand an earthquake of magnitude 8.0. The building was constructed using over 10,000 rectangular panes of glass.
Upon moving from the old Neutra sanctuary to the new Johnson sanctuary in 1981, the congregation changed its name to the "Crystal Cathedral". The name is merely an alliterative construct; the building is not made of crystal and it is not a true cathedral in that it does not house a bishop's official seat (cathedra). In 1990 the Prayer Spire was completed.
2010 bankruptcy 
Beginning in 2010, creditors of Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed lawsuits to collect money due to them for providing goods, services and broadcasting The Hour of Power weekly TV show. A board member said that the total debt was $55 million.
The church's board filed for bankruptcy on October 18, 2010, citing $43 million in debt including a $36 million mortgage and $7.5 million in other debt. Church officials said that they had been trying to negotiate payments but after several suits were filed and writs of attachment were granted the church had to declare bankruptcy.
Purchase by the Diocese of Orange 
On July 7, 2011, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, which had long been seeking to build a new and larger cathedral in or around Santa Ana, announced that it was "potentially interested" in buying the church campus for future use as its diocesan cathedral. Two weeks later, the diocese followed up with a cash offer of $53.6 million which included a lease-back provision at below market rates for a period of time. On November 17, 2011, a federal judge approved selling the Crystal Cathedral to the Diocese of Orange for $57.5 million.
Days after the judge's ruling, Italian newspaper La Stampa used a picture of the Crystal Cathedral to illustrate an article reporting on the establishment of a Vatican commission "to put a stop to garage style churches, boldly shaped structures that risk denaturing modern places for Catholic worship." The Vatican approved the use of the building two weeks after the judge's ruling.
The sale to the diocese was finalized on February 3, 2012. Under the terms of the sale, Crystal Cathedral Ministries will lease most of the campus including the church and continue to use it for three years; the diocese has offered Crystal Cathedral Ministries a longer-term lease at nearby St. Callistus Church, whose parish the diocese anticipates "will eventually transfer" to the Crystal Cathedral campus. The diocese announced that the transfer of the cemetery located on the campus would be "immediate", and that it would soon be establishing offices on the campus. Tod Brown, Bishop of Orange, has stated that the diocese intends to hire an architect to renovate the interior of the facility "so it will be suitable for a Catholic place of worship", but does not intend to substantially change the exterior.
On June 9, 2012, it was announced that the building is to be known as "Christ Cathedral" when it becomes the diocese's new cathedral, and that Fr. Christopher Smith will be its episcopal vicar. The building's new name was designated by the Holy See, while suggestions were also taken from the diocese and its members.
The church's 273 rank, five manual pipe organ is one of the largest in the world. Constructed by Fratelli Ruffatti and based on specifications by Virgil Fox and expanded by Frederick Swann, the instrument incorporates the large Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ built in 1962 for New York's Philharmonic Hall (now called Avery Fisher Hall), and the Ruffatti organ which had been installed in the church's previous sanctuary. Swann was organist at the Crystal Cathedral between 1982–1998.
See also 
- Cathedral of the Holy Family, the current cathedral of the Diocese of Orange
- "About the Architecture". Crystal Cathedral. Retrieved 2010-03-05.
- "The World's Largest Pipe Organs". TheatreOrgans.com. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- Epstein, Benjamin (15 May 1996). "Crystal Clear Devotion : Cathedral's Organist Will Be Happy to Solo With Four Seasons Symphony on Home Turf". Los Angeles Times.
- "The Top 20 - The World's Largest Pipe Organs". SacredClassics.com. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "Catholic Diocese of Orange Announces Cathedral Name" (Press release). The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
- "History – 1955 to Today". Crystal Cathedral Ministries. 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
- Lindsey, Robert (May 15, 1980). "Opening of Glass Cathedral Is a Feast for Eyes and Ears". The New York Times. p. A20. Retrieved 2010-03-05.
- "Crystal Cathedral Owes $7.5M To Small Business Owners " CBS Los Angeles- News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the Best of LA". Losangeles.cbslocal.com. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
- Bharath, Deepa (October 15, 2011). "Crystal Cathedral, creditors at $7.5 million impasse". The Orange County Register. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
- Cathcart, Rebecca (October 18, 2010). "California’s Crystal Cathedral Files for Bankruptcy". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- Bharath, Deepa (May 26, 2011). "Crystal Cathedral to be sold to pay millions in debt". The Orange County Register. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
- "Southern California diocese considers buying Crystal Cathedral". Catholic News Agency.
- Diocese of Orange website: Formal Bid
- "Southern California considers buying Crystal Cathedral". Catholic News Agency. 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2011-07-08.
- Taxin, Amy (17 November 2011). "Judge approves Crystal Cathedral sale to diocese". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
- Tornielli, Andrea (21 November 2011). "New Vatican commission cracks down on church architecture". La Stampa. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
- "Cement cubes, glass boxes, crazy shapes". California Catholic Daily. 22 November 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- Gibson, David (6 January 2012). "Some see Crystal Cathedral's purchase by Catholic diocese as calculated risk". Baptist Standard. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
- Campbell, Ronald (February 4, 2012). "Crystal Cathedral is sold". The Orange County Register. p. Local 1. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
- "Diocese of Orange Formally Acquires Crystal Cathedral and Adjacent Campus". Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange Press Release. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
- Medlin, Marianne (November 30, 2011). "A true miracle!". California Catholic Daily. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "Landmark Crystal Cathedral gets a new name -- Christ Cathedral". MSNBC.com. 9. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
- "L.A. Now". Los Angeles Times. 3 February 2012.
- "The World's Largest Pipe Organs". Atlas Communications. Retrieved December 5, 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Crystal Cathedral|