The Chinese-style Via Crucis led to the sanctuary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, previously threatened with destruction. The sanctuary was built by PIME missionaries in the early 1900s.
Anyang (AsiaNews) - With bulldozers and drills, Anyang authorities (Henan) have demolished a Via Crucis along the path that leads to the site of the ancient pilgrimage of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Tianjiajing. The 14 stations of the Via Crucis, in slate stone, represented the various moments of Jesus' passion with Chinese style drawings and etchings and with devotional prayers (see photo).
The government had long threatened the destruction of the Via Crucis and of the sanctuary (or of what remains of it). The sanctuary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is located in the Linxian district, on a mountain overlooking a scenic landscape.
It’s construction was ordered by PIME missionary Msgr. Stefano Scarella, then Apostolic Vicar of Northern Henan, to thank the Virgin for having escaped dangers during the persecution of the Boxers in 1900. Construction took place in the years 1903-1905. The church was destroyed by the Japanese in the Second World War and by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution.
Despite this each year a national pilgrimage attracted 40-50 thousand people. Since May 2007, the provincial government of Henan has banned national pilgrimages; the government of the city of Anyang has revoked the permission from the sanctuary and the pilgrimage, calling them "illegal religious activities".
With the implementation of the new religious regulations, Henan has become the target of a strong persecution against Protestant Christians, but also Catholics, the destruction of tombs and unofficial churches, but also bans on minors attending masses of official communities. According to some analysts, the persecution in Henan is primarily targeting Protestant communities, which are growing in number, but in reality the violence is against all religious communities.