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California megachurch Crystal Cathedral gets new name as it changes to Catholic church

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The Crystal Cathedral, in Garden Grove, Calif., was sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange for $57.5 million.

Southern California's landmark Crystal Cathedral has been given a new name as the evangelical church transforms into a Catholic church.

The iconic, glass-paned megachurch founded by "Hour of Power" televangelist Robert Schuller was sold to the The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange last year. On Saturday, Bishop Tod Brown renamed it Christ Cathedral during a priest ordination and named Christopher H. Smith to the top post of the new church.

The Garden Grove cathedral's name came after more than 4,100 submissions from Catholics all over the world.

Schuller retired in 2006 after seeing his ministry that began at a drive-in movie theater evolve into a global televangelist empire. But after a botched leadership transition to his son, donations began to plummet and in 2010, the Crystal Cathedral sought bankruptcy protection.

The diocese bought the 2,900-seat cathedral and its grounds for $57.7 million. It will have to renovate the cathedral for Catholic worship before services can begin.

Meanwhile, the Crystal Cathedral congregation, which will be moving about a mile away to St. Callistus Catholic Church in June 2013, will have to renovate that church for the "Hour of Power" to be filmed there.

Smith told the Los Angeles Times that at a recent meeting with Schuller, the preacher said he always had Jesus Christ in mind when conceptualizing the cathedral.

"And now, as it turns out, the cathedral is going to be named Christ Cathedral," he said.

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