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Immaculate Conception

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Grail Lord
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« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2007, 10:51:02 pm »


Johann Adam Schall von Bell

Emperor Shunzhi was friendly to Schall and the church, visiting it no less than twenty four times, bestowing upon it a stone stela with the words 'built by Imperial Order' inscribed upon it.

In 1690, Beijing received its first Roman Catholic bishop, the Franciscan Bernardin della Chiesa, and the church became a cathedral

In 1703, in the twenty fourth year of the reign of the Emperor Kangxi, the cathedral was enlarged and renovated, and after ten years, a European-style building was complete, the second European-style building in Beijing after the Canchikou church. This was destroyed in 1720 by an earthquake in Beijing. A new cruciform structure was built in the baroque style, with a length of 86 metres and width of 45 metres. This was again severely damaged by an earthquake in 1703, in the eighth year of the Emperor Yongzheng, who donated 1000 taels of silver towards its repair. The repaired cathedral had larger and taller windows, resulting in a brighter and grander interior.

The cathedral was damaged by fire in 1775, in the fortieth year of the reign of the Emperor Qianlong, who donated 10,000 tales of silver for restoration work, bestown upon it a calligraphed board in the Emperor's own hand, with the words 万有真原 on it.

In 1838, in the fourteenth year of the reign of the Emperor Daoguang, due to constant conflicts with the power and influence of the Catholic Church, for the sake of peace, the Qing government decreed a restriction of the activity of the Catholic Church in China. In this decree, the cathedral was confiscated by the government and remained such until the end of the Second Opium War, when the Catholic Church was again permitted to act freely. The cathedral was reopened in 1860 under the leadership of Bishop Joseph Martial Mouly.

When the Boxer rebellion broke out in 1900, all the churches of Bejing were targets of vandalism, and on 14 June 1900, the cathedral was set razed to the ground, together with the other churches of Beijing.


In 1904, the present structure was completed, the fourth church on the site. On 21 December 1979, Bishop Michael Fu Tieshan was consecrated in the cathedral, the first major event in the life of the Catholic Church in China after the Cultural Revolution.

The cathedral is possibly the best known to foreigners, as it has an English-language mass on Sundays at 10 a.m., as well as Chinese-language masses every hour on the hour from 5-7 on weekdays and 6-9 on Sundays.


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