St. Vibiana rises from the dead
St. Vibiana's Cathedral gets new life
LOS ANGELES (CBS TV News, Palms Springs) -- St. Vibiana's Cathedral, the 129-year-old church that narrowly escaped demolition after earthquake damage closed it a decade ago, has been resurrected.What an ass! (the word is in the Bible)
The Spanish-Baroque cathedral has been restored and converted into a community arts center with the name Vibiana Place and a stage in place of the altar. The center was scheduled to be unveiled Saturday night at a $350-a-person fund-raiser for the Los Angeles Conservancy, a preservation group that fought to save the building.
Built in 1876, St. Vibiana's was the seat of the Roman Catholic Church in Southern California and a downtown landmark with an 83-foot-tall bell tower, vaulted ceiling, distinctive cupola and carved wooden doors.
It was severely damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the city declared it uninhabitable. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles wanted to tear down the building and put up a new cathedral on the site. However, demolition plans were abandoned in 1996 after courts forced further environmental studies.
A new $195 million cathedral, Our Lady of the Angels, eventually was built elsewhere.
The archdiocese approves of the St. Vibiana's renovation and even loaned the arts center six Art Deco chandeliers that once graced the old cathedral.
"Church law requires that former churches be used for a dignified purpose," said Tod Tamberg, a spokesman for the archdiocese.
"It's really a wonderful second life for the former cathedral," he added.
Tip to Rick Lugari.