Sacred Music Worship held in a TEC Century-old Cathedral in Anqing

By Grace Zhi, December 30, 2016 06:12 AM

The choir director leads the choir to sing hymns in the cathedral(Anqing Saint Saviour's Cathedral)

On Dec 25, a sacred music worship was hosted in Anqing St Saviour's Cathedral which was still under renovation. There were no pews in the church, so everyone stood in a semicircle and sang "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

The cathedral originally belonged to The Episcopal Church (TEC) of the USA. It was the only Gothic Cathedral that was preserved in Anhui Province after the Reform and Opening up. After three years' construction, the main construction of the church was completed on Oct 10, 2015. At the moment, the interior facilities, such as pews and sound system are gradually being completed. It is estimated that the church will be opened after Christmas this year.

Pastor Zheng, chairman of the TSPM of Anqing, told CCD that he has become half an expert in order to complete the church. He hoped to try his best to restore the church so that the valuable cultural heritage of the church would be passed on.

The church originally belonged to TEC, with construction started in 1900 and completed in 1903. It was one of the ten Gothic cathedrals of the ECUSA nationwide. In 1991, it was listed as a municipality protected historic site. When overlook, the overall shape of the majestic church e is like a cross. The length is 42.6 meters, and it was flat built with black bricks with lime pointing. The exquisite workmanship is of great historical and cultural value.

In 1910, the church was the Cathedral in Anhui and Jiangxi parish, and it had jurisdiction over Anhui and Jiangxi on church matters. There were three bishops and more than 10 Chinese and foreign chairmen worked in the church. Lloyd R. Craighill succeeded Daniel Trumbull Huntington, American, who had served as the first missionary Bishop of Anqing. The third bishop was Robin Chen who was Chinese and the first vice chairman of the TSPM.

In 1938, the Japanese army invaded Anqing. The main chapel of Cathedral of Holy Savior was damaged, but the main structure was still intact. During the Cultural Revolution, the church was converted into staff quarters by shoe factories and other businesses. After the Reform and Opening, the church was qualified as the ancient church that covered the largest area in the whole province.

In 1984, the municipal government implemented the religious policy and gave the entire church back to Anqing Church. In Oct 2014, when Bishop Ding Guangxun, Vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference at the time, was inspecting work in Anqing, he particularly proposed to restore the Cathedral of Holy Savior to the municipal government of Anqing. He also wrote an inscription "Actively protect religious and cultural heritage, and strive to promote the construction of historical and cultural sites in Anqing."

For now, there is only one open church in Anqing, and it is far from meeting the needs of 7,000 believers in downtown.

Translated by: Grace Hubl

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