St. Katherine CA
Greek Orthodox Church in Elk Grove CA
Just as prospectors flocked to the Sacramento area in 1850 searching for earthly gold, St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church beckons spiritual seekers today with a physical presence that radiates the treasure of Christ. From the simple yet magnificent carved oak icon screen to the natural light spilling from the dome’s eight windows, St. Katherine reflects the beauty of God’s people united in vision and purpose.
It began with a donation of eight acres, space deeply appreciated by Father Dino Papademos and the small mission parish of 50 families. They were meeting in a peanut warehouse when Christ Kamages, AIA, was commissioned in 1990. However, impressed upon seeing Kamages’ designs for the site, the donors were inspired to donate another prime property in the town center of nearby Laguna West, a master planned pedestrian-friendly ‘pocket community’ and allow the parish to sell the original parcel. Operating within an open, ‘glass box’ consensual design/planning process, the dynamic team of priest, architect and parish leadership moved steadily toward completing a facility which welcomed 125 families at opening. Today it is home to a vibrant parish of 350 families
Drawing inspiration from the church of the Koimisis of Nicea, (Asia Minor), St. Katherine’s classic cross-in-square design artfully fuses historical influence, regional spirit, economics and operational functionality. The 275 seat temple and small, attached support spaces were completed as Phase One in 1993 for $1.1 million. A hall facility was completed in Phase Two in 2003. Atop the crisp white stucco exterior, variegated terra cotta colored clay roof tiles complement the warmth of the copper dome. The entry plaza leads the worshipper within a unique inner space bathed in sunlight, where one experiences a special warmth shared with the icon screen, altar, pulpit and solid wood pews also designed by CJK. The continuity and beauty present inside and out of St. Katherine reinforces the simple presence of a ‘heaven on earth’.