Why is Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus special
Situated on the north bank of the Pearl River and stands at the heart of the busy old town, Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Guangzhou of South China. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Guangzhou.
French Catholics received the plot of land that the building is on by signing an agreement with the Qing government on January 25, 1861. Emperor Napoleon III and the French government donated funds for the building of the church. A French architect named Leon Vautrin designed the cathedral and modeled it after the Basilica of St. Clotilde.
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Highlights
As one of the architectural highlights in Guangzhou, the church took the builders 25 years to finish the building. It has been recently refurbished because it was damaged in the 20th century. The stained windows, high arches and spires, and the spacious and high inner sanctuary make the building look like a European cathedral.
The cathedral was built of big granite blocks shipped in from Hong Kong. The walls and the two towers were made of granite. This is why the cathedral was called Stone House. In the 19th century, people had never seen a building built like this in Guangzhou.
The Cathedral is said to be the biggest Gothic-style cathedral in China and Southeast Asia. There are two rows of pews and 14 small side-chapels. The cathedral is 35 meters wide and 78.69 meters long, and the twin towers rise 58.5 meters. The west tower is a clock tower with a large Chinese-manufactured clock, and the east tower serves as bell tower and has gigantic bronze bells that were shipped from France in the 19th century.
The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is also is known as the Sacred Heart Cathedral. It isn't a Roman Catholic church, but it is the cathedral of the Chinese bishop in Guangzhou. It is operated by the government, and they refurbished it several times. It was reopened in 2007. Now, mass is held each week in several languages.