History of St. Anne's

At the urging and request of Mrs. Cecilia Stewart former parishioner of Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church in Anaheim the late Archbishop Thomas V. Dolinay (then Eparch of the Byzantine Rite Eparchy of Van Nuys) sent his secretary, Fr. Edmund M. Idranyi, to check the feasibility of starting a mission on the Central California Coast. Father Idranyi met with former members of Saint Mary Byzantine Catholic Church in Van Nuys, Saint Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Fontana and Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church in Anaheim. All of whom had moved to the Central Coast. The meeting took place in the home of Edward and Sandra Stewart in Santa Maria. After Divine Liturgy was celebrated, Father Idranyi explained what would be required of those in attendance.

San Luis Obispo was chosen as the perfect site since it was about half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Through the good graces 0f Father James Nisbet, then pastor of Old Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, and with the approval 0f the The Most Reverend Thaddeus Shubsda, Catholic Bishop of Monterey, the the new San Luis Obispo/Santa Maria Byzantine Catholic Mission was given the use of the Old Mission’s former convent chapel (now the Oratory of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) for Sunday Divine Liturgies.

The first Liturgy was held on Sunday, June 22nd, 1986, with about 25 souls in attendance. Divine Liturgies were held monthly through December 1986. Beginning January 1987 the Divine Liturgy was celebrated Bi Monthly, for the growing community. Finally, in September of 1987, Bishop Dolinay decided that there would be Liturgies weekly and all major Holy Days. Bishop Dolinay visited the growing community two times, and each time celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the main Church Sanctuary of the Old Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. On January 17, 1989, Bishop Dolinay raised the San Luis Obispo/Santa Maria Byzantine Catholic Mission to the canonical status of a parish under the patronage of Saint Anne, the Mother of Mary. Saint Anne was chosen as the patroness largely due to Father Idranyi’s long-held devotion to her.

It is interesting to note that this was not the first Byzantine Catholic presence here on the Central Coast In the early 195O’s, the Petrick, Kubek and Bereczky families settled here. Fr. Anthony Kubek and his wife settled here after his retirement (Father and his wife are buried in Old Mission Cemetery in San Luis Obispo) and also, for a few years Fr. Eugene Bereczky and his wife lived here. Each had their own private chapel and for many years celebrated the Byzantine Divien Liturgy for their families and other interested people. After Father Eugene’s death, the small community was visited for various sacramental purposes by Fr. Eugene Cbromoga, Fr. Joseph Ridella and Fr. John Lucas.

The Old Mission Chapel was proving too small for the growing congregation and in late 1990, the opportunity to obtain a permanent facility arose: as the Disciples of Christ Church at 222 East Foothill Boulevard was for sale. After prolonged consultations and with the permission of the new Bishop, Most Reverend George M. Kuzma, D.D. Second Bishop of the Eparchy of Van Nuys, the church and property were purchased for the sum of $500,000. Bishop Kuzma was concerned that the young parish did not have a permanent pastor. He was also concerned that Father Idranyi was wearing himself out after nearly five years of weekly round-trip commutes between Northridge and San Luis Obispo. In response Bishop Kuzma assigned Father Idranyi to be the administrator and resident priest of Saint Anne Byzantine Catholic Church. The first Liturgy in the new facility, was celebrated on Christmas Day, 1991. On January 6, 1992, Bishop Kuzma joined us for the first celebration of the blessing of Jordan water on the feast of the Theophany and blessed the church building.

The third Bishop of Van Nuys, the Most Reverend William C. Skurla visited the parish three times after being ordained as bishop of the eparchy on February 19, 2002. First as a general visit after being named the Bishop of Van Nuys, second to celebrate Father Idranyi’s 50th Anniversary of Priestly Ordination and finally, on July 29, 2007, to ordain Mr. John F. Bradley to the permanent diaconate.

On March 27, 2008 the Very Reverend Gerald N. Dino was ordained as the fourth bishop of the Eparchy of Van Nuys. On May 18, 2009 Bishop Gerald N. Dino announced the retirement of the Reverend Father Edmund Idranyi as Pastor of Saint Anne Parish effective June 30, 2009. In the same communication he appointed Father Idranyi as Pastor Emeritus of Saint Anne Parish giving tribute to his 23 years of service as the founding pastor of Saint Anne Parish. Bishop Gerald named the Reverend Father James Lane as the new pastor of Saint Anne Parish effective July 1, 2009. A former parochial vicar of Saint Stephen Pro-Cathedral in Phoenix, AZ, Father Lane was the second pastor in the growing history of the parish.

On August 1, 2013, Bishop Gerald announced the transfer of Father Lane to Saint George Byzantine Church in Olympia, Washington. The Reverend Father Milan Kasperek was appointed to take his place as the third pastor of Saint Anne Parish. A native of Slovakia arriving from the Archparchy of Preshov, Father Milan chose to come to the Eparchy of Phoenix at the invitation of Bishop Gerald N. Dino and with the permission and blessing of Metropolitan-Archbishop Jan Babjak, SJ. Father Milan will be Saint Anne first married priest which is very common for Eastern Catholic priests outside of the USA. He and his lovely bride Maria were warmly welcomed into the Parish family. Since his arrival Father Milan has established outreach missions in Hanford California.

On June 1, 2018, Fr. Michael Bezruchka became our fourth pastor here at St. Anne’s.