As a must-see attraction for tourists in the Yantai Mountain Scenic Area, Shicuo Church in Fujian Province was built in 1856 with funds raised by British expatriates who lived in Fuzhou.
On May 4th, we came to the Yantai Mountain Scenic Spot in Fuzhou, approaching Shicuo church in the Cangshan District, which was not yet open to the public due to COVID-19.
Volunteer tour guides at the scenic spot introduces that it was designed by Hong Kong civil engineer T. L. Walker and constructed by local workers, being completed in 1862.
Originally named St. John's Church, it is a Gothic-style building made of blue and gray granite and diabase. Since the church was built with stone, it is commonly known as “Shicuo Church” which means stone house church. It was an important place for Christians from seventeen foreign consulates in Fuzhou to hold religious activities. Buttresses are used for the outer walls, wooden trusses are used for the roof trusses, and the roof consists of double-layered small blue tiles. The plan of the church is roughly I-shaped, with an area of 414 square meters. It consists of the main hall, side hall, entrance hall, and altar. The main hall is rectangular, with double slope tops, and gables on the east and west sides. The west gable has three Gothic pointed windows. On the top of the gable is a small octagonal bell tower with a towering top and a cross on it. On the west facade of Shicuo Church, only the octagonal bell tower that was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution can be seen.
Outside the gable is a prominent semicircular altar, both sides of which are side halls. The entrance hall is located in the side hall at the southwest corner, and the main entrance faces south, with a Gothic pointed door.
In 1906, the Episcopal Church established the Fujian Diocese, to which St. John's Church belongs. In the 1950s, the Anglican Church of China broke away from the Church of England, joining the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. St. John's Church belongs to the Fujian Three-Self Patriotic Movement. During the "Cultural Revolution", ceasing its activities, the church was appropriated as a printing factory. In 1992, it was announced as a Fuzhou municipal cultural relics protection unit. With the renovation work basically completed in May 2012, it was announced in 2018 as part of the ninth batch of Fujian provincial cultural relics protection units with the name "Yantai Mountain John's Church".
Outside the church there originally was a cemetery, and later it was developed into a street market. There are two famous ancient trees in front of the church, one an ancient ginkgo tree under the first-class protection of Fuzhou City, and the other an ancient camphor tree under the second-class protection of Fuzhou.
- Translated by Katherine Guo