Guangzhou Shishi Sacred Heart Cathedral
In 1858, the diocese of Macao was independent of the administrative affairs of Guangxi, Guangdong and Guangdong, and it was handed over to the Foreign Missionary Society of Paris to establish the Guangdong and Guangxi Pastoral Supervision District. Bishop Philippe Francois Zephirin Guillemin, a French member of the Diocese, was appointed by the Holy See as the first pontifical pastoral supervisor. Ming Jizhang himself came to Guangdong as a missionary in October 1848, when he already had the idea of building a cathedral in Guangzhou. In 1851, he bought a house next to the Lianggwangbu Church and built a chapel. In the third year of Xianfeng (1853), negotiations with the local authorities in Guangdong on the construction of a church were not smooth at that time. After the outbreak of the second Opium War, the British and French allied forces captured the city of Guangzhou, the new city near the Pearl River was destroyed, the governor of Guangdong and Guangxi Ye Mingchen was captured.
After the war, according to Article 6 of the Treaty of Beijing signed by the Qing Court, "Missionaries may rent and buy land in various provinces to build Catholic churches," the Ming Jizhang asked the local authorities in Guangdong to return the church buildings that had been confiscated and use them as land for new churches. The Guangzhou authorities initially proposed several plots of land outside the city, which were rejected by Ming Jizhang, who demanded land inside the city as compensation on the grounds that the original church was inside the city. Finally, with the military support of Coupvent des Bois, commander of the French Navy stationed in Guangzhou at that time, he forced Lao Chongguang, Governor of Guangdong and Guangxi, to sign a contract on January 25, 1861, leasing the base of the Governor's office of Guangdong and Guangxi to a foreign mission in Paris for the construction of a Catholic church. The area is 42 mu, 6 cents and 6 percent, and the rent per mu is 1,500 yuan. In March 1863, the lease was extended to 17 acres, 6 cents and 9 percent. Since then, with the church as the center, in the vast area stretching north to Da Xin Road, south to Mai Ma Street, east to Baimi Lane, west to Yuzi Lane, orphanages, nursing homes, Sacred Heart Academy, Mingde Girls' High School, Rixin Primary School, St. Francis of Assisi Minor convent and the Convent of Our Lady Without Sin in China have been gradually established, forming a community of believers and a Catholic mission center in South China.
In 1858, Ming Jizhang went back to France to meet with Emperor Napoleon III of France. He stated the development of British and American forces in Guangzhou, which aroused Napoleon III's concern that France's influence in Guangzhou was inferior to that of other countries. Taking advantage of the situation, Ming Jizhang proposed to expand France's influence in China by establishing churches and preaching, so as to make up for its disadvantage in trade. At last Napoleon III promised a personal grant of 300,000 francs, and also allowed the Imperial Court to solicit donations from French Catholics. After the construction of the church had begun, the Inquisitions managed to get the French government to agree to an additional grant of 250,000 francs, of which the balance of 75,000 francs was allocated to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the construction of the church after the fall of the Second French Empire by a vote of 491 in favor and 100 against by the French Parliament in May 1873.
The foundation of the church began on June 28, 1861, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and was completed in 1863. On December 8 of that year, the Day of the Immaculate Conception was celebrated with a grand groundbreaking ceremony. The surrounding streets were decorated and crowds gathered. The Governor of Guangdong and Guangdong rode in the sedan seat of eight people's congresses to attend the ceremony. All civil officials, about 300 officers and soldiers of the Eight Banners, missionaries and about 20 priests, as well as all the consuls and senior officials from European countries stationed in Guangdong also attended the ceremony. At the ceremony, the then French Consul in Guangzhou, Baron Gilbert de Trenqualye and Bishop Ming Jizhang delivered speeches respectively. A stone from Jerusalem and a kilogram of earth from Rome are placed under two stone foundations to show that Christianity was founded in Jerusalem in the East and Rome in the West. The two stones are inscribed with the words Jerusalem 1863 and Roma 1863.
The construction of the church encountered a lot of resistance. In addition to the requisition of a large amount of residential land for the construction of the church and its affiliated buildings, after the two Opium Wars, the people of Guangzhou generally rejected and hostile to foreigners. The construction of the church was halted in 1869 when the governor of Guangdong and Guangxi forbade stone quarrying and xenophobic sentiment among the people grew hot. Bishop Ming Jizhang directly addressed the issue with court officials in Beijing. However, despite being a key figure in bringing the church's plans to fruition, from conceiving it to raising the money to overseeing its construction, Ming Ji Chang was never able to see it completed. He was recalled by the Vatican in September 1879, but failed to return to China and died in Paris at the age of 72 in 1886, two years before the church was completed. The Stone Chamber Church was completed under the stewardship of Bishop Augustin Chausse, his successor.
Stone House Church is one of the four Gothic churches in the world with a construction area of 2,924 square meters, 32.85 meters wide from east to west, 77.17 meters long from north to south, 28.2 meters high nave roof, 52.76 meters high spire to ground, it is the largest Gothic church in China and Southeast Asia, and the largest stone structure in China. The main architect of the church was Leon Vautrin from Nanci, France. Bishop Ming Jizhang had seen a lot of Leon Vautrin's works in Lorraine, France. He was deeply impressed by Vautrin's architectural talent, so he invited him to design the church in Guangzhou. And at the suggestion and selection of Leon Vautrin, he hires Charles Hyacinthe Humbert, also of Southern Tin, as the executive architect, together with Antoine Hermitte of Paris, who board the ship from Marseille in late December 1862, He went to Guangzhou to direct the concrete construction of the church. The front facade of the stone Chamber church is modeled after St. Claudius Church in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, while the interior of the nave and semicircle apse is modeled after Thole Cathedral in France. The whole church belongs to the revival style of Goethe, which flourished in Europe in the 19th century.
As the church was built entirely of granite, which was not produced in Guangzhou, it ran out of cannabis stones mined at Ngau Tau Kok and Cha Kwo Ling in Kowloon, Hong Kong. These stones were transported to Guangzhou by sailing boat, then manually chiseled, hoisted and glued. The construction process went through many difficulties. At first, it was directed by two French construction engineers. Due to the poor language with local workers and the fact that the Chinese never had experience in building Gothic churches, the project was carried out for several years and only stones a few feet high were built. Later, a construction worker (stonemason) CAI Xiao, who visited his fellow townspeople in Pinghang Town, Jieyang County, Guangdong Province, remained as the chief plumber after 25 years, which was completed in 1888. The stone alone has been used for eight years. As the church is built of granite, it is also called "Stone Chamber".
The front of the Sacred Heart Church is a pair of towering twin spire towers. The western stone tower is equipped with a clock. The eastern stone tower originally held five bronze bells sent from France, but one of them was given to a church in Wuzhou, Guangxi by the priest in the early 1980s, so now only four bronze bells remain in the tower. An arched vault with pointed ribs and high forks in a church; Palm-closed mullions line the front door and surround the walls. The doors and Windows of the church are inlaid with red, yellow, blue, green and other colorful glass, which not only avoids the outdoor glare, but also keeps the indoor light soft all year round, forming a kind and solemn religious atmosphere. From a high vantage point, the church looks like a Latin cross lying flat. The stone steps outside the church door used to have seven steps, but because of the accumulation of earth and the elevation of the ground over the years, only five steps can be seen now.
No. 56-7, Old Front, Yide Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
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