St. Joseph’s Church

Statue in front of East Church
Statue in front of East Church
Located at Wangfujing Street in Beijing, the St. Joseph's Church, also known as Wangfujing Catholic Church or East Church, is the most conspicuous cathedral in Beijing. It was the second Catholic Church which was built only after the South Cathedral. The Wangfujing Cathedral was originally named after Joseph, the father of Jesus Christ, as 'Saint Joseph's Church'. After several restorations in recent years, it has become not only an important venue of Catholics, but also a cultural site with unique features in the Wangfujing Area.

The St. Joseph's Church was built in 1655 by Ludovicus Buglio (1606 - 1682) and Gabriel de Magalhaens. When they first came to China, they mainly did missionary work in Sichuan Province. In the early period of Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), they were captured by soldiers and then worked in the Prince Su's Mansion. In 1655, Emperor Shunzhi granted them a piece of land, on which they later built the St. Joseph's Church to facilitate the religious activities of Catholics. Tang Ruowang (Johann Adam Schall von Bell), a famous German missionary in Qing Dynasty spent his late years in the St. Joseph's Church. Nan Huairen (Ferdinand Verbiest), Lang Shining (Giuseppe Castiglione) and many other western missionaries once lived there too. Lang Shining’s masterpiece, the portrait of ‘Jesus Christ with a Kind Heart’ is hung over the side-altar. In 1720, St. Joseph's Church collapsed as a result of earthquake and was rebuilt the following year. In 1807, the priests’ house was ruined by a big fire caused by carelessness. Bishop Tian rebuilt it in 1884. In 1990, the church was burnt down again during the Yihetuan Movement. In 1905, France and Ireland jointly rebuilt the it as we see now. The restored St. Joseph's Church and its surroundings have formed the largest outdoor leisure space in the commercial street of Wangfujing Area.

Its architectural style is Romanesque with Chinese architectural features. The whole building is of gray brick and wood structure. It is a typical model of the fusion of Chinese and western architecture style.
East Church
St. Joseph's Church
East Church
Peaceful Square
After the original surrounding walls were removed, the European-gray-spire building takes off its mysterious coat and comes into the sight of tourists.

The Catholic Church is situated in the middle of the St. Joseph's Church, facing the west. The church sits on a bluestone base. There are three crosses on the top, among which the middle one is bigger than the side ones. The hall is supported by 18 round brick columns. The diameter of each column is 65 cm (2 feet) and the base of each column is square. On both sides of the hall hang many oil paintings like Crucifixion of Jesus or Passion of the Christ. Besides, many precious religious paintings drawn by Giuseppe Castiglione are preserved.

The square in front of the church, covering over 8,000 square meters ( 8,6000 square feet), is now completed. The square is surrounded by trees and on both sides there are benches for pedestrians. Now, it is not only a convenient mass center for the catholic, but also a place for visitors to explore the religious culture and even a popular scene for some youths in Beijing to take wedding photos.

Mass Time

Sunday Mass, 06:15, 07:00, 08:00 (Chinese), 16:00 (English);
Daily Mass: 06:30 & 07:00 (Chinese)

How to get to St. Joseph's Church

1.Take Bus 103, 104, 140, Te 11, Sightseeing Bus 2, Night Bus 18 or 21 to Xin Dong'an Shichang.
2. Take Subway Line 5 and get down at the Dengshikou, then walk west for several minutes to get there.
Beijing Bus / Subway Search
Location: 74, Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District.
Opening Time: every morning (times may vary)

 See More Churches in Beijing

 Further Reading: Christianity in China
- Last updated on Jan. 31, 2024 by Kate Liu -
Questions & Answers on St. Joseph’s Church
Asked by Gloria from GERMANY | Dec. 13, 2023 18:24Reply
Mass on Christmas Eve 2023
do you have any information about catholic masses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year? All the information I find are not from this year.
Thank you in advance
Answers (2)
Answered by Jessica | Dec. 13, 2023 22:10

I'm sorry but it is hard to find any information about this year's Christmas Eve mass online. It is better to contact the church to confirm it directly.
Answered by John | Dec. 22, 2023 19:57

Hi Gloria,
If you have found out what the Christmas eve and Christmas day mass timings are please do share!
Asked by Simona from CZECH | Dec. 09, 2020 23:49Reply
Does anyone know when is the Christmas mass at Beijing East Church this year?
Thank you very much

Answers (1)
Answered by Brooklyn | Dec. 10, 2020 21:56

I remember that there is an English mass at 16:00. In order to be sure, you are suggested to pay attention to the latest news.
Asked by Sujin from REPUBLIC OF KOREA | Dec. 12, 2019 21:53Reply
Time of Beijing St. Joseph’s Church Christmas mass
What time is the mass of eve and Christmas?
Answers (1)
Answered by Jennie from UNITED KINGDOM | Dec. 16, 2019 00:55

As I know, it will start at 23:30 on December 24, and on December 25, English mass will start at 12:00 and 16:00.
Asked by Hasma from INDONESIA | Dec. 04, 2017 23:31Reply
Mass in New Year Eve or New Year Mass at Beijing East Church
Is there a New Year's Eve Mass in Dec 31 or New Year's Mass on1 Jan, 2018 Wangfujing Church ?
Thank You
Answers (1)
Answered by Judie from CANADA | Dec. 05, 2017 02:58

I heard there is an English mass at 16:00 on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, but not sure there will be more due to the festival.
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