Although we’ve already been referring to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Los Angeles as the new pro-cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles (due to a tip we received), the designation was made official on October 7 by Bishop Jon Bruno at the annual clergy conference. A service to inaugurate the new role for St. John’s will take place on February 2, 2008.
While technically a pro-cathedral, St. John’s will be called “St. John’s Cathedral” to avoid confusion. It will share status as the mother church of the Episcopal diocese with the Cathedral Center of St. Paul in Echo Park. According to the Very Rev. Canon Mark Kowalewski, dean of St. John’s, the new pro-cathedral will serve the liturgical functions of a cathedral.
This status of a pro-cathedral bearing the title of “cathedral” is nothing new for the Episcopal diocese here; the old St. Paul’s Cathedral downtown (demolished in 1979) was also technically a pro-cathedral for most of its existence. The new role for St. John’s was a long time coming, as talks on taking this move were afoot as early as the 1980s. According to Fr. Kowalewski, even as early as the 1920s the first rector of St. John’s had aspired to have the impressive new church named the diocesan cathedral.