On Aug. 1, Pope Francis named St. Anne Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Los Angeles as Co-Cathedral of the Melkite Greek Eparchy of Newton.

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, formally elevated St. Anne’s to co-cathedral. In his message during the Mass, Cardinal Sandri recalled the suffering and persecution of Christians in the Middle East, likening it to California’s Northridge earthquake of 1994, which damaged St. Anne’s.

“It seems that for too many years your motherland, the Middle East, has been shaken to its foundations by an earthquake which seems, not only never to end, but actually to increase its intensity from day to day,” the cardinal said Aug. 1. “It carries with it sorrow and suffering, especially for the littlest and poorest, among whom are many of our brothers and sisters in the faith.”