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    » 01/29/2013, 00.00

    JAPAN

    For the first time, Japan to ask UNESCO to honour Christian sites



    Nagasaki and Kumamoto prefectures ask Culture Minister Hakubun Shimomura to submit a list of 13 Christian locations as World Heritage Sites, including Oura Cathedral, Pius IX's 'miracle of the Orient', and various places where Christians met martyrdom. Evangelisation in Japan was subjected to one of the harshest repressions in history.

    Nagasaki (AsiaNews) - For the first time in the country's history, the Japanese government plans to recommend a group of Christian locations for inclusion in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Nagasaki and Kumamoto prefectures on Tuesday submitted a draft proposal to Culture minister Hakubun Shimomura with 13 sites for consideration by the United Nations agency, which is expected to begin deliberating next year if it receives a recommendation by September.

    The 13 sites include Nagasaki's Oura Cathedral, built by two French missionaries from the Société des Missions Étrangères in 1864 to honour 26 Christian martyrs, nine European and 16 Japanese crucified in 1597 on the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The building itself was declared a 'national treasure' in 1933, the first Western-styled structure to be so recognised.

    After its inauguration, people from the village of Urakami asked Fr Petitjean, one of the two missionaries who built the church, if they could go inside to "greet Mary". The Frenchman thus discovered that they were Kakure Kirishitans, descendants of the first Japanese Christians who went underground as a result of imperial persecution.

    Tens of thousands of underground Christians followed this first group, visiting the cathedral and openly practicing their Christian faith. Told about it, Pope Pius IX called the event "a miracle of the Orient".

    In addition to the cathedral, local authorities also other sites recognised, including places where Japanese Christians were martyred and some catacombs where they sought refuge during the period of persecution.

    Nagasaki was the point of entry for Japan's evangelisation. Early Christians were eventually forced to go underground for about 250 years after the Tokugawa shogunate imposed a ban.

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    See also

    10/07/2004 Unesco
    Wonders of nature and Asian art are now World Heritage sites

    Some sites in Iraq, Afghanistan and China in danger. Cambodia and Oman no longer on "blacklist".



    24/06/2013 UNESCO - CHINA
    With its Yunnan's rice fields and Tianshan Mountains, China climbs UNESCO ranking
    Two sites from mainland China are added to the list of World Heritage sites during the 37th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, placing the People's Republic just behind Italy. In this meeting, 31 sites are up for consideration, from deserts in Namibia and Mexico to volcanoes in Italy and Japan. For Tim Badman, of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the new sites "are a celebration of the beauty of nature and our joint commitment to conserve it for generations to come".

    03/01/2012 CHINA
    Economic development destroying Chinese history
    China’s first heritage census shows that 44,000 historically significant sites have been destroyed in the name of development. About a quarter of what is left is in a poor state of repair.

    14/07/2016 17:27:00 PAKISTAN
    Lahore: Christian foundation against the new metro line going through church land

    City’s 27 km Orange Line Metro Train project threatens 27 heritage sites, 11 of which are protected under federal law and six under provincial law. Four churches dating back to the mid-19th century would be affected, including the Cathedral Church of the Resurrection. For activist, “we [. . .] will not sit back and let anyone destroy this 2000-year-old city”.



    02/07/2012 PALESTINE – ISREAL
    Church of the Nativity in UNESCO; Mount Tabor a "national park". It's time to save the Holy Places
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