Brief History of the Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church
By the mid sixties many parishioners of both St. Mary's in Van Nuys and St. Nicholas of Fontana had relocated in the Orange County area. By 1968, plans were made to establish a mission parish. Thus, in July 20, 1969, Fathers Eugene Chromonoga and Joseph Ridelia celebrated the first Divine Liturgy in St. Catherine's Military School Chapel, Anaheim. They attended to the needs of the new community until the appointment of Father Stephen Balogh as pastor in September 1969. After the departure of Father Stephen in early 1972, the parish was cared for by Father Michael Warady (a retired priest of the Passaic Diocese who lived in Pasadena), Father Joseph Radvansky of San Diego and Father Basil Schott , O.F.M. of Sybertsville, Pennsylvania.
In May of 1972, Father George M. Kuzma was appointed pastor. In 1973, a house at 319 North Harbor Boulevard was purchased. The two story Spanish-style house (formerly the home of Darla of 'Our Gang' comedy fame) was remodeled to provide pastor's quarters upstairs and a chapel, office and parish kitchen downstairs. The large garage was renovated into a hall and cultural center. Landscaping beautified the grounds, with much of the work done by parishioners. The city of Anaheim designated the building a historical site, and twice it won the 'House Beautiful Award' from the City. While St. Catherine's Chapel continued to be used for Sunday Liturgies, Father Kuzma began to raise funds and search for a site on which the community could build its own church. Several possibilities were explored over the years, but nothing promising materialized.
On November 8, 1981, parishioner Michael Savko was ordained a permanent Deacon by Bishop Emil Mihalik of the Diocese of Parma. Over the years, those assisting on Sundays have included: Father Wesley lzer, S.D.B., Father Jon Jenson and Father Edmond ldranyi. For his outstanding work, Father Kuzma was named a Prelate of Honor by Pope John 11 an April 29, 1981, with the Title of Reverend Monsignor. On November 4, 1986, Father Kuzma was given the added distinction of being named Auxiliary Bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Diocese of Passaic.
In February of 1987, Monsignor George N. Vida was appointed pastor of Annunciation. Monsignor Vida continued to search for centrally-located property for a new church. On December 6, 1988, 2.5 acres of land (with three rental properties) were acquired on North West Street near La Palma Avenue in Anaheim. One of the homes was renovated in the summer of 1990 for a parish rectory. The present Harbor Boulevard property was retained for use as a daily Chapel, the Parish Office and Catechetical instruction as plans got under way for developing the properties. On October 23, 1990, Bishop George Kuzma was appointed the second Bishop of the Diocese of Van Nuys.
The parish has given the following to the service of the Church: The Reverend Deacon Michael Savko, Sister Cecilia Livingston and Sister Jane Livingston; both members of the Daughters of St. Paul, Sister Ancilla of the Carmelite Order, and the Reverend James R. Barrand. The ordination on April 21, 1994 of one of our very own sons, Fr. Robert Pipta, to the sacred priesthood is a yet another indication that we have "come of age" as a parish family. In 1997 the former pastor, the Most Rev. George Kuzma, celebrated his tenth anniversary as Bishop of our Eparchy. Also in 1997, Father George Vida celebrated his fortieth year in the priesthood.
The maturity of our church is reflected in the strong liturgical life of Annunciation, the expanded religious education program for both adults and children, and the rich social program of the congregation. None of this would be possible without the generosity and dedication of the members of the parish. Late in 2000, we celebrated the dedication of the first of our new parish facilities: our new hall where we can socialize, learn and celebrate the important events of our life together, and a bell tower to call the faithful to worship. Our next goal is to build a sanctuary in which to offer Him our praise. Until it is ready, we will celebrate our liturgies in the social hall. It is much regretted that some of the cornerstone members of our parish family are no longer with us at this exciting time. Nevertheless, we join their spouses, children and grandchildren in remembering their many contributions as we lay the foundation for our new church.
In 2013, with the retirement of Fr. George Vida, Fr. James Barrand accepted his assignment to Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church, moving from his previous tenure at St. Nicholas of Myra Byzantine Catholic Church in Anchorage, Alaska.
MOSAIC OF CHRIST THE TEACHER (PANTOCRATOR).
In the ancient world, kings, emperors, judges and teachers would sit as they exercised their duties. The Scriptures, in general, see Christ as the promised successor of King David seated on his throne, and specifically, the book of Revelation sees Him and the Father as occupying thrones in heaven.
This dazzling mosaic, made of thousands of pieces of miniature glass tessera, depicts Christ in His glory blessings with His right hand, while holding an ornate Gospel Book in His left. His Holy Gospel contains His words of eternal life that he bequeaths to his Faithful with the instruction, “Go therefore into all nations baptizing them, in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” We have been saved for a purpose: to be collaborators with our Lord Christ in the salvation of the world.