25 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 02/08/2007 18:04
CHINA
Guangzhou’s Sacred Heart Cathedral to reopen tomorrow
After two years of renovation work, a solemn mass will inaugurate the building again. Local and provincial government officials will attend. Government money paid for most of the work. Known as the Stone House Church, it is mainland China’s only granite Gothic church.

Guangzhou (AsiaNews) – Guangzhou’s historic Sacred Heart Cathedral, the only granite Gothic church in mainland China, is scheduled to reopen on February 9, after more than two years of renovation work, paid almost entirely from the coffers of the provincial Communist government.

The occasion will be marked by a liturgical celebration tomorrow morning, at 8:30 am, in the presence of numerous faithful as well as officials from the municipal and provincial governments.

The cathedral is located in downtown Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, and is commonly known as the Shishi or Stone House Church because its walls and pillars were built with large granite blocks. Over the years it has become a major point of interest for Chinese and foreign worshippers and tourists.

Full-scale renovation began in July 2004. It included replacing the roof, cleaning and repairing the granite walls, and reinstalling a mechanical clock and bronze bells in the two bell towers. The lighting, sound system and furniture were upgraded and more greenery was planted in the church compound. Its stained glass windows were replaced with new ones from the Philippines. They depict Bible stories and saints. Beside the altar are a pair of windowpanes portraying Italian Jesuit Father Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) and Catholic Chinese imperial official Paul Xu Guangqi (1562-1633), Ricci’s first baptised Chinese.

A local Catholic points out however that the windows “have a major flaw. Their titles are in English and not in Chinese. It is a real pity.” Another worshipper is more philosophical. “It is actually nice to think that for these windows the Churches of China and the Philippines got in touch with one another.”

The Shishi is one of China’s most beautiful Catholic buildings. Earth from Rome and Jerusalem was used in the foundations as a symbol of the faith’s universality and its link to Rome.

A local clergyman told AsiaNews that the Cathedral’s new appearance will “help in evangelising because many people who saw the renovation on TV will be drawn to such an important historic place.”

The Church is also a focal point for the city’s expatriate community. Many foreigners have in fact settled in Guangdong province, China’s wealthiest region. Sunday masses will be in Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, English and Korean.

As a way to show its openness and generosity, the city government has contributed 21 million yuan (US$ 2.7 million), about 80 per cent of the total renovation cost of 26 million yuan. The diocese, despite a tight budget, contributed 3 million yuan and raised another 2 million from Catholics. As way to thank donors a commemorative plate in their honour will be unveiled inside the church.

In 1996, China's State Council listed the cathedral as a national historical monument. Construction began in 1863 and was completed in 1888, 25 years later. It was inspired by Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, but the architects incorporated two additional 60-metre-tall bell towers on either side. With a floor area of 2,754 square metres, the Guangzhou cathedral is one of the largest Gothic churches in China.

The church suffered severe damage during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) and the Civil War between Kuomintang (nationalist party) and Communist troops.

During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), some red guards destroyed stone pillars and all the fixtures in the cathedral such as altars, furniture and statues of saints. The church was then used as a warehouse. But it returned to its original vocation after Deng Xiaoping came to power in 1979.

On the wall behind the main altar are traces of the Cultural Revolution, which are being preserved as a testament to China's history. After bricks had been removed and the wall washed, huge slogans in red paint were revealed such as “Long live Chairman Mao” and the “Working class must exercise leadership of everything.”


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
05/15/2010 CHINA
Xu-Ricci Institute of Dialogue opens in Shanghai
12/04/2007 CHINA
Archbishop of Guangzhou against materialist threat
12/19/2006 CHINA
Chinese state TV acknowledges Catholic numbers rising
09/08/2010 VATICAN - CHINA
Cardinal Zen: Catholic Church in China, dialogue or confrontation with the government
by Card. Joseph Zen Zekiun, sdb
03/26/2014 CHINA - VATICAN
Matteo Ricci and Xu Guangqi, two saints the Chinese Church deserves to venerate together
by Benoit Vermander

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
CHINA - EUROPEAN UNION
Xi Jinping returns home full of deals and silence
by Bernardo CervelleraThe Chinese president signed agreements worth tens of billions of Euros in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He also stayed clear of any press conference. At the College of Europe in Bruges, he presented his dream of a new trillion-dollar Silk Road. Yet, he also made it clear that at home, the monopoly of power stays with the Party, squashing any dream for political reform in China. On the Internet, netizens disagree with him.
VATICAN
Pope announces a 'festival of forgiveness' for 28-29 March in St Peter's Basilica and churches around the worldPope Francis made the announcement after today's Angelus. "We must celebrate the forgiveness the Lord gives us as did the father in the parable of the prodigal son, who, when the latter returned, organised a party, putting out of his mind all the things the son had done." When Jesus met the woman of Samaria, he "tore through the biased mind-set against women." The pontiff also called on the pilgrims to say, "Every encounter with Jesus changes one's life; every encounter with Jesus fills us with joy." He also sent his greetings to a Japanese school.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.