At the request of His Grace, The Most Revered NICHOLAS J. Samra, Eparchial Bishop of Newton, His Holiness, Pope Francis, has named Saint Anne Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Los Angeles, California, as Co-Cathedral of the Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of Newton. The Divine Liturgy for the Solemn Inauguration of the Cathedral of Saint Anne will be celebrated by His Grace, Bishop NICHOLAS, on Saturday, 1 August 2015, at 4:00 P.M. His Eminence, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches in Rome, will preside at the Divine Liturgy and will read the decree of Pope Francis elevating the Church as a Cathedral for the Eparchy of Newton. A grand Banquet will follow the Divine Liturgy at the Hilton Hotel in Studio City, CA.
Saint Anne Cathedral was founded in 1909 when Father Gerasimos Sawaya, the first Melkite missionary priest, traversed the west coast visiting and ministering to the Melkites in the Western United States. The present church building is 51 years old and is quite unique in the United States for its modern Byzantine architecture. The church is a jewel of iconography with mosaic and painted icons decorating the entire interior, featuring the Great Feasts of the Byzantine calendar and related accounts of the New Testament Gospel periscopes, as well as many saints. Its semi-circular exterior arcade features icon scenes from the Old Testament.
St. Anne Cathedral was the Mother Church of the following Melkite communities founded from it: Holy Cross Church in Placentia, CA; Virgin Mary Mission in Temecula, CA; St. Jacob Mission in San Diego, CA; St. Philip Mission in San Bernardino, CA; St. Paul Mission in West Los Angeles, CA; and Annunciation Mission in Covina, CA. In addition, St. Anne Church was also involved with the foundation of the following communities: St. George Church in Sacramento, CA; St. Elias the Prophet Church in San Jose, CA; and St. John of the Desert Church in Phoenix, AZ; and St. Joseph Mission in Seattle, WA.
The Eparchy of Newton has jurisdiction over all the Melkites in the entire United States. The seat of the Eparchy is in Boston (Newton) Massachusetts, where its Eparchial Cathedral of the Annunciation is located. Because of the vast extent of the Eparchy, Bishop NICHOLAS requested the naming of a Co-Cathedral on the West Coast in order to express to the Melkite faithful there the unity of the Church and the solicitude of it bishop. The Eparchy of Newton presently has 45 parishes and missions, sixty active and retired priests, and sixty-two deacons, with several priests and deacons on special assignment outside the Eparchy.