Shanghai St. Ignatius Cathedral

Being one of China’s famous and the biggest cathedrals in Shanghai, St. Ignatius Cathedral lies at the No. 158 Puxi Road, Xujiahui District. It is the first Chinese cathedral built in Gothic style.

Its construction was related with Xu Guangqi (a very famous Chinese statesman and agriculturist from the Qing Dynasty 1644 - 1911), who was a Catholic at that time. It was he who started the history of Catholicism in the southern region in China. In the year 1904, the cathedral started to be built and was opened to the public in 1910. Being grand and gorgeous, it was called “The largest Cathedral in the Far East” at that time. As a result of the church’s completion, Xujiahui District had become the center of missionary and other related activities. Many other educational, cultural, charitable facilities were established in this district.

Being called the “Vatican of Shanghai”, the cathedral faces east, covers 6,670 square meters (about 1.6 acre) and can hold about 3,000 people at one time. Its outside shape is like a Latin cross. The bell towers on two sides are 57 meters (187 feet) high. Wandering around outside, you can see buttresses on which grotesques are constructed as decorations as well as drainage system.

At the entrance, there is a name card with a sentence written in Latin “ORATE PRO W.M.DOWDALL F.R.I.B.A. A.M.I.C.E. HUJUS TEMPLI ARCHITECTA”, which means “praying on behalf of the constructor”.

Inside the cathedral, 64 stone round pillars with carved patterns come to people’s eyes first, all of which are carved by using stones from Mount Jin in Suzhou. There are more than 60 pointed-arch shape windows and six large rose-like windows in the church. Different themes of pictures are painted on the rose-like windows. Around the walls, 14 pictures of the suffering life of Jesus are presented. 19 altars are built inside and the main altar in the center was sculptured in Paris first and then transported to Shanghai in 1919. On the top of the main altar, a sculpture of St. Mary holding Jesus in her hands is standing there. On the left side of the main altar, there exists a hall in memory of the dead people.

The winding corridor inside the church is not only used as a decoration but also in a practical way. Dust and echoes can be absorbed by the corridor due to its special structure. Before the seats, there is a row of short benches for kneeling during prayers.

The cathedral is open to the public for limited times only on Saturday and Sunday.
Opening hours: Sat: 13:00 ~ 16:00; Sun: 14:00 ~ 16:00
Volunteers will guide visitors in a tour every half an hour.

There are different kinds of masses at different times for Catholics.
Time of Mass:

Mass on Ordinary Days Mon. ~ Sat.: 6:15; 19:00
Children's Mass Sat.: 16:30
Lord’s Day Mass Sat.: 18:00
Sun.: 6:00; 7:30; 10:00; 18:00, 12:00 (English Mass)
Mass on the First Friday of a Month 18:00

The rules are required to follow when you make a visit there:
1. Keep silent and ensure your mobile phone powered off or silent. Making phone calls is not allowed inside.
2. Pay attention to personal attire. Slippers, tank tops and mini skirts are not allowed inside.
3. Take care not to damage any of the equipment and remain outside of any areas that are closed to the public.

Time for Catechumen:
Sat: 15:30 ~ 17:30
Sun: 8:30 ~ 10:30
Everyone is free to attend, but people should sign up at the entrance of the church.

Classes for Catholic Dogmata:
For children: Weekends and summer and winter holidays
For adults: Only Weekends

Bus No. 15, 92, 957, 56, 42, 43, 50, 56, 93, 122, 171, 178, 205, 303, 320, 548, 572, 703, 703B, 704, 712, 732, 770, 712, 816, 820, 824, 830, 855, 920, 923, 926, 927, 931, 920, 956, 957, 958, 985, Tunnel Line 1, Airport Line 3, Xuchuan Line, Xumin Line
Subway Lines:
Take Line 9 or Line 1 and get off at Xujiahui Station.

 Further Reading: Christianity in China

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