Monday, January 28, 2013

Saint Sava Mosaics

Just after Huell Howser passed away, I watched his show about the Saint Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in San Gabriel, which is full of mosaics.

Digression: Let me just say for the record, that any imitations of his Tennessee drawl were done with love. I miss Huell--he filled the gap left by Ralph Story, who used to do a similar show back in the 1960s. Both men found history all over Los Angeles and brought it to life for television viewers. I doubt if anyone could replace him.

The current Saint Sava church was consecrated in 1984, and the mosaics were designed and installed shortly after. The church itself follows an early Byzantine design; the architect was Konstantin Zurdumlis, who was raised in the town of Krusevac, Serbia.

Here is what the church's history page says about the mosaics:

In March 1986, St. Sava Parish hired Sirio Tonelli, a high class artist to create and install the mosaic iconography in the St. Sava Church interior. He was born in Florence, Italy and comes from the place of famous Renaissance painters. The mosaic was made in Florence before it was installed in the Church. It was created in Byzantine tradition touched with Renaissance spirit displaying beauty and grace. Judging by what has been done so far; the Church looks majestic and makes a very spiritual impression on every visitor, and especially on the faithful of the congregation.

The church stands at 1640 S. San Gabriel Blvd. in San Gabriel and holds services every Sunday at 10 am. I suspect it's open for visitors most of the time as well.

Here's a clip from KCET's website showing a trio of young people singing at the church--you can see some of the smaller mosaics that line the walls in the background.

These pictures came from the church's website and Facebook page, which indicates that either new mosaics are being added or mosaics are being restored. Sorry to be vague, but the church site refers to work on "the interior mosaic project."

From what I can tell, the last ten years have been spent completing the mosaic dome of the church. You can see a hint of that in the picture at right--the brightest blue is the lower part of the dome. But I will gladly correct this post if someone wants to send me more information!

No comments: