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20 Jul 2015

Xujiahui Catholic Church ( St. Ignatius Cathedral), Shanghai

Shanghai [上海] • 20 JULY 2015
St. Ignatius Cathedral, Shanghai (聖依納爵主教座堂), also referred to as Xujiahui Cathedral (徐家汇天主教堂), is a Neo-Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral, located in Xujiahui, in Shanghai, China. Since 1960, St Ignatius has been the seat of the Bishop of Shanghai and the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Shanghai.


After the Opium War, Xujiahui Catholic Church is the first Catholic Church in Shanghai. At the end of the 19th century, where near the tomb of Xu Guangqi, in the Shanghai Catholic Center, a new Church Hall was built in 1904 and completed in 1910,it's the Catholic Church in Xujiahui, China's first Western architectural style church.
 

It covers an area of 2,670 square meters, construction area of 6,670 square meters with 79 meters high, 28 meters broad and 44 meters wide at the altar. Inside the floor is paved with square-bricks with the doors and windows in arch shape, inlaid with stained glass. The roof is a pointed arch-shaped ridge which appears 27-28 meters. In the middle are 64 columns of various sizes, each of which is assembled together by 10 cylindrical Jinshan Stone. Above the main entrance of the church there hung four Gospel of St. history statues, and used to be a stone statue of Jesus crucified hung in the middle. Gutters are set around the top court, and the water in the gutters comes out from the stone animals’ mouths arranged around the walls. The middle aisle is paved with flowers laying ceramic tiles, and the hall can accommodate 2,500 people at one time.


There're totally 19 altars with the main altar located in the middle of the rear part on which the beautifully and vibrantly carved statues of Jesus, Madonna stand. They were made in 1919 in Paris and thereafter transported and assembled here in Shanghai. In the early times, western missionaries faced the altar, being away from members of the church, and use a foreign language to recite the Bible.


Later, in order to promote and permit the Catholic Church "localization", it's also changed to set up a new altar in the front of the old one as local auxiliary bishop and the seats of the local bishop are away from the altar, facing Catholics to read scriptures. Small prayer halls are on both sides in the hall. At the top on both sides are Gothic-style clock towers in a height of up to 60 meters, which are quite magnificent. The church doors and windows are in sharp and curved shape, which fully embodies the important characteristics of the Gothic-style.


The church locates in the west and faces east, with the cross-shape plane. It’s indeed an imitation of the French Gothic building in the mid-century. Red brick walls, white supporting columns, green grey slates and tiled roof, two towers on both sides face to face, high up to the sky, all of these made the church more impressive. Xujiahui Catholic Church is known as the first building in Shanghai for its huge size, handsome in appearance and superb technology.


As the largest Catholic Church in Shanghai, every morning there're more than one Mass held on Sundays and religious holidays, which are grand ceremonies.

Articles credited to Chinatravel
Location: 158, Puxi Rd, close to North Caoxi Rd, Xuhui District
Transportation: Xujiahui Station of Metro Line1/Line 9.
+86 21 6438 2595

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