After more than two years’ renovation, Xujiahui Cathedral has been upgraded and is set to reopen this Saturday, just in time for Christmas.
As Shanghai’s largest church, Xujiahui Cathedral (a.k.a. St. Ignatius Cathedral), lies on Puxi Road in Xuhui District and has a history of over 100 years. The construction of the cathedral commenced in 1906 and ended in 1910.
Designed by English architect William Doyle, the cathedral takes on Victorian Gothic style. It is 56 meters in height and 28 meters in width. A birds-eye view of the church looks just like a Latin cross. Covering an area of 2,670 square meters, it is able to accommodate approximately 2,500 worshippers.
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Since 1960, Xujiahui Cathedral has become the seat of the Bishop of Shanghai and the headquarters of Roman Catholic Diocese of Shanghai. Over the years, it has been repeatedly damaged and received several small-scale renovations.
However, due to continuous bad weather and serious termite damage, the condition of the church had deteriorated. In 2015, increased rain damage was so severe that parts of the ceiling fell, startling worshippers and visitors. As a result, Xuhui District decided to temporarily close the cathedral for renovation.
The renovation was carried out under the principle of ‘old,’ that was, to restore Xujiahui Cathedral without altering its original look. To accomplish this, the renovation team referred to documented records, doing their utmost to find original materials to replace those worn and broken.
“The Church has given us guidance and direction as well,” says Wei Wei, general director of the renovation. “The main statue outside the cathedral has been replaced with Jesus holding the cross. The statue at the main altar has been changed to St. Ignatius with eight other saints. All these works are to restore the cathedral to what it looked like one hundred years ago.”
“We had to extend the length of our project because the amount of work exceeded our expectation.” says Wei, as initially, the renovation was scheduled to finish in August of 2016.
Xujiahui Cathedral will reopen to the public on December 16, and both worshippers and visitors can enter without reservation.
Grand celebrations will also be held on Christmas Eve of this year, where worshippers can attend their mass.
See listing for Xujiahui Cathedral here
[Images via Kankanews]