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Church Tour: Beijing St. Michael's Church

Church Tour: Beijing St. Michael's Church

Beijing St. Michael's Church Beijing St. Michael's Church(Provided by Paul Wu )
ByCCD contributor: Paul Wu May 07, 2020
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Built in the modern era, St. Michael’s Catholic Church is situated in the center of Beijing in the Legation Quarter.

In China's modern history, Dongjiao Minxiang Alley(Beijing Legation Quarter) became famous because many foreign embassies are located there. There are many Christians among the foreigners who are in the embassy area. In order to provide a place for them to worship, the church built this Catholic church here.

In 1901, Bishop Pierre-Marie-Alphonse Favier negotiated with the French consulate in China and obtained a piece of land to build a church. Fr. Callisto Caravario of the French Mission was responsible for its construction. In 1904, St. Michael's Church was officially opened. At that time, the members of the church were mainly foreigners living in China, and the education work of the church was basically handled by French clergy. The church was named "St. Michael" (ie: Michael).

St. Michael's Church is built in the Gothic style. The existing building occupies an area of ​​2656.4 square meters. The main building is a two-storey building. The rear of the church is on the north side and the entrance gate faces south. The width from the east to the west is about three rooms. The length from the south to the north is about 14 rooms(one room is the average space of a single room). The east and west walls of the church have stained glass windows imported from France in the late Qing Dynasty. The top of the hall is sloped, covered with gray tube tiles, all of which are glazed. The top of the hall is a typical Gothic structure with ribbed arch buttresses that increase the height. The temple is three rooms wide from east to west, and fourteen rooms from north to south. It is supported by columns and the floor is tiled.

Above the main entrance of the church is a statue of St. Michael, the patron saint of the church. Statues of angels and exquisite stained glass windows are the two most striking highlights in the architecture of Beijing Legation Quarter. And unlike the other four Catholic churches in Beijing, it has never been severely damaged in the 100 years since it was built. It has been well preserved and has kept its original appearance.

After 1949, when foreign missionaries left the mainland, St. Michael's Church belonged to the Beijing Diocese. Father Yao Guangyu and Father Zhang Yongshan presided over educational instruction, and the believers were all Chinese. In 1952, two priests, Wang Shide and Dian Difan, came to serve. In 1954, Wang Jiting was appointed as a priest in this church.

In 1958, St. Michael's Church was forced to close and was used as a primary school site. It wasn't until 1986 that the elementary school moved out of the church. After the church was renovated, it was restored on December 23, 1989, and was called the Catholic Church in Beijing Legation Quarter in Beijing Diocese.

At present, the Catholic Church in Beijing Legation Quarter not only carries out a ministry of evangelism but also participates in various social undertakings. priests from the church often organize believers to participate in public welfare activities such as poverty alleviation and disaster relief.

This church has also become a place for tourists to visit, including many international friends.

- Translated by Kevin Feng

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