Monday, February 14, 2011

St. Anne Melkite Greek Catholic Church

Today's mosaic comes from North Hollywood. I think...maybe it's Studio city. Anyway,
St. Anne Melkite Greek Catholic Church on Moorpark St. inaugurated its current church and hall in 1965. These archways--with many mosaics, all depicting scenes from the Bible--stand outside the church, surrounding it almost like a moat.

I hear there's a three year waiting list to have a marriage ceremony there, and I suspect it's not just because the church is beautiful.

I've been to a wedding there--the couple lived forty miles away, but St. Anne was the only Melkite Greek Catholic Church around. I just checked, and it's still the only Melkite Greek Catholic Church with its own building in Los Angeles County. (There is a Melkite Greek Catholic community that meets at a Russian-Greek Church in El Segundo.)

I have yet to see or hear a coherent explanation of the differences between these particular churches. Anyone who does understand usually cares passionately about canonical law and tradition and all the things that complicate the explanation. The levels of relationships between the Greek and Roman, Melkite, Coptic, Syriac, etc, etc, are-- if you'll pardon the pun--positively Byzantine.

But the mosaics are purty.


Rittmeister said...

A completely accurate and "coherent explanation of the differences between these particular churches" would take volumes. A short-but-sweet version would be:
The Catholic Church is actually a collection of multiple churches: 23 with a separate history. The Roman Catholic Church is largest (98% of all Catholics). The Melkite Catholic Church is a smaller one that developed originally in the Middle East. Their worship and traditions developed under the influence of the Church in Constantinople (Byzantine Empire), so the Melkites are very similar to the Eastern Orthodox - but they are part of the Catholics and historically they are of Arabic ancestry. See WWW.Melkite.Org for more details.

Vix said...

Thank you for the short-but-sweet version!
I was confused by the references to "communion" with the Roman Catholic Church; I'm sure that word has a very exact meaning but don't know what it is.
So the Melkite Catholic Church is just as catholic as the Roman branch, right?

linda dalal sawaya said...

delighted that i came across your post about this church, as my great uncle, Fr. Gerasimos Sawaya, founded this church in 1909 in Los Angeles.

my very first post on my cookbook blog (november 2009) has a reference to the celebration of the 100th anniversary of st. anne's melkite church in los angeles with a photo of fr. sawaya! my cousins and aunt and i attended the celebration banquet dinner and donated 400+ complimentary copies of the cookbook to church members in honor of my great uncle, mother, alice, and father, elias.

my cookbook: alice's kitchen: traditional lebanese cooking (named for my mother, alice) has more historical information about fr. sawaya and the church as well as photos of the original church location in los angeles. also other historical info and photos about the lebanese/syrian community in LA.

another post on my art blog in jan. 2010, has photos of my father and his brother's former wholesale dry goods store at 645 S. Los Angeles Street, and the building still intact as a fabric store, right around the corner from Coles' French Dip where my father used to take us for special lunches in the 1950s, when it was quite the lively place! the one thing missing from my dad's store were the interior ladders that slid across the face of the shelves that reached to the ceiling, which my sister, vivian, and i used to of course slide on the length of the store!

another missing element is the HUGE lettering on the side of the building SAWAYA BROS. WHOLESALE DRY GOODS...since there is now other building oon both sides where there used to be parking lots.

my art blog address with this posting is

thanks so much for enriching our knowledge of the history of los angeles, my home town!

with warm regards and fond memories,
linda dalal sawaya

Vix said...

Thank you so much for filling in some of the history. I love the picture of your uncle on your first blog post (, then use the right column to go back to Nov. 2009).
When I get down to Cole's I will look for the dry goods store (now a Persian-owned fabric store).