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At 60, L.A. church blends Arabic, English and Spanish

December 4, 2010 |  7:30 pm


Each Sunday at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral in Los Angeles begins with two services, representing the old and new at the decades-old congregation.

The morning starts with an 8 a.m. liturgy in Spanish, followed by a larger service at 10 a.m. in English and Arabic.

But this weekend, both groups of congregants will come together for a shared service as the cathedral celebrates its 60th anniversary, a period that has witnessed a change in the church as new generations and members have joined. The special day will be observed with a sermon about the cathedral by Bishop Joseph, who heads the denomination's Diocese of Los Angeles and the West. A celebration banquet will follow.

The parish's roots date to the early 1900s when Syrian and Lebanese Orthodox immigrants in Los Angeles began organizing and working to found a church. In 1948, St. Nicholas' foundation was laid, and it opened its doors two years later. In its first years, services and sermons were mostly in Arabic, but as the second, third and fourth generations came along -- and their connection with their parents' and grandparents' language weakened -- English has taken on a more prominent role in services.

Read the full story here.

-- Raja Abdulrahim

Photo: The St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral is preparing to celebrate its 60th anniversary. Credit: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times