Faith Sheds Light Where Technical People Can’t

One explanation for the shining cross on the dome of St. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Encinitas relies on the laws of physics governing the reflection and diffraction of light.

Another explanation is simpler: It’s a miracle.

“It’s a serendipitous happening,” said project co-architect Harry Anthony, semi-retired after teaching at Cal Poly-Pomona, UC San Diego and Columbia University. “We weren’t looking for a miraculous appearance. It just happened.”

What happened was that, soon after the scaffolding was taken down in June, the image of a shining cross appeared on the dome.


Further, the cross appears to motorists on

Manchester Avenue and Interstate 5 to “travel"--like a portrait in which the eyes seem to follow you regardless of where you stand.

Anthony asked two fellow parishioners with doctorates in physics to study the phenomenon. They explained that it was a matter of how sunlight strikes the 250,000 tiny golden tiles and the grouting on the dome.

The Rev. Theodore Phillips prefers a more mystical explanation. He likens it to the cross that appeared in the sky to Constantine the Great in 303 A.D., on the eve of a battle that made him an emperor and a Christian.


“I was awe-struck when I first saw our cross,” said Phillips. “I still am. To some degree, it’s supernatural. Many people see it as a spiritual sign of God talking to them.”

Anthony, whose co-architect was Stuart Baesel, says he could not have planned for the light cross. Instead, the dome was built with a 5-foot-tall wooden cross, which hardly anyone notices.

“I don’t want to say it’s a miracle,” Anthony said, “but, if I built another church with the same materials, same relation to the sun, same height, same everything, I don’t think the cross would appear.”

Excuse the Entendre



POMONA, Calif., July 28 /PRNewswire/--Michael Bowen, partially paralyzed in his arms and legs in a car accident four years ago, will reach California this Monday, July 31, on the last leg of his cross-country bicycle tour.

Burrito Battle Rages

Burrito wars have come to San Diego.


Tommy’s Foods of Fullerton and arch-rival Kold Kist Brands of Commerce are jousting for the right to sell 117,000 dozen burritos to San Diego schools.

Tommy’s submitted a bid of $310,000, but Kold Kist, whose bid was $318,100, has a beef.

It says Tommy’s meat burritos don’t meet U. S. Department of Agriculture standards and that the school district’s taste test was slanted in Tommy’s favor.

When it comes to selling burritos to schools in Southern California, if Tommy’s doesn’t get the bid, Kold Kist usually does, and vice versa. The competition is no-holds-barred.


Kold Kist is still gloating over getting the Los Angeles school bid after Tommy’s beef burritos were discovered to be ground, not shredded. In San Diego, the school district’s food service and purchasing departments decided to rebid the burrito contract after a Kold Kist protest.

It will advertise for “beef-flavored” bean burritos rather than beef and bean burritos; that way the USDA specifications that beef burritos be 15% meat won’t apply. The minimum weight for each burrito will also be spelled out.

“It’s something of a challenge to make a specification for a burrito,” said food services director Jane Boehrer.

The blind taste test, whereby 2 dozen children eat competing burritos, will also be redone. Last time, Tommy’s was the clear favorite.


Kold Kist says it was unfair because the students have been eating Tommy’s burritos for the past year under the old contract.

“It’s very hard for young children to adjust to a new flavor profile,” said Kold Kist salesman Tom Sawyer. “They tend to stick with the familiar.”

Tommy’s says that’s baloney.

“If a kid doesn’t like your burrito, he’ll throw it in your face,” said Wyman Shanks, vice president for marketing.


The rebidding may take three months. To tide over the burrito-hungry student body, the school board Tuesday will consider an emergency motion to buy $75,000 of Tommy’s burritos.