Century-Old Liaoyang Church, Liaoning

Liaoyang Church
1/2Liaoyang Church(photo: Provided by Wu Zhongyi)
The church stele of Scottish missionary James ...XX
2/2The church stele of Scottish missionary James ...XX(photo: Provided by Wu Zhongyi)
By CCD contributor: Paul Wu October 19th, 2020

Situated in the middle of Liaoning Province, Liaoyang is an ancient city with a history of 2,300 years. It is also an emerging modern petrochemical and textile industrial base, a popular tourist city, and one of the oldest cities in the Northeast. In the courtyard of No. 34 Dongsandao Street, Baita District, Liaoyang, there stands a well-known place of worship -- the Liaoyang Christian Church. Built in 1888, the church tells a moving story of a Scottish missionary.

The Liaoyang Museum keeps a monument called the "Li Gong Martyrdom Church Stele". The 110-word inscription shows the tragic testimony of Pastor James Lee, who was martyred for the Lord.

The inscriptions says, "The monument was originally erected in the Christian Church on Dongsandao Street, Liaoyang, in the 33rd year of Guangxu's Qing Dynasty (1907).

A British pastor whose Chinese name was Li Yage(Jacob), came to Liaoyang to preach in the 14th year of Guangxu’s reign during the Qing Dynasty (1888). In the 20th year of Guangxu’s reign (1894), during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894, he was wounded and killed by a soldier of Zuo Baogui’s Army. This monument was erected after his death when his father donated money to build a Christian church to memorialize the loss of his son."

In 1907, the chapel was completed, and the east wall was inlaid with the stele, which is now kept in the Liaoyang Museum.

According to the inscription, the present Liaoyang Christian Church was initially named  "Li Gong Martyr Church". The church covers an area of ​​3,564 square meters (0.88 acre) and a building area of ​​1,782 square meters (0.44 acre). The church has a large Chinese-style roof. The lobby goes from south to the north, and the overall structure resembles a cross, much like an ancient Roman Catholic church. The front hall is very spacious and the main hall can accommodate 400 people to worship at the same time.

The "Li Gong Martyr Church", later named the Liaoyang Christian Church, was also where the "Liaohai Diocese" was based at that time. It was in charge of the churches in Benxi City, Liaozhong County and other places in Liaoning Province. In addition, the church also built a "Benevolent Mother Hospital" (maternity and infant hospital), elementary schools, and middle schools, including a girls' middle school.

- Translated by Jacqueline Y

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