Despite visitors’ eagerness to witness the upgraded Xujiahui Cathedral (a.k.a. St. Ignatius Cathedral) after its 2 year renovation, they may have to wait a little longer to get their curiosity satisfied.
Last Saturday as announced, Xujiahui Cathedral reopened and resumed its religious activities. Thousands of citizens rushed to the century-old structure hoping to see the all-new church.
To their disappointment, when they got there, they were told by staff members that the cathedral was still not open to the public.
According to the announcement posted at the entrance, the church decided to suspend its opening to the public for fear that the crowd might affect the regular religious events. The church will open to the public after it has fully prepared and coordinated with other departments.
On Saturday morning, only invited worshippers were allowed to enter the cathedral and attend the reopening ceremony.
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As Shanghai’s largest church, Xujiahui Cathedral has a history of more than 100 years. Designed by British architect William Doyle, the Victorian Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral can accommodate approximately 2,500 worshippers. The church was once even addressed as “the grandest church in the Far East.”
The renovation of the cathedral commenced in 2015 after it was closed as a result of its deteriorated condition. It took the renovation team a long time to develop their plan as they needed to renovate the church without altering its original looks. The renovation was scheduled be complete in August of 2016, but the period of the project was prolonged due to the amount of the work required.
The suspension of the opening is huge disappointment to visitors. “I’ve brought all my equipment (to shoot photos for it),” says one of the visitors. “Now I can only take some pictures from the outside. The outside of the church is also gorgeous, though.”
As was told by one of the working staff who refused to give his name, that the cathedral might reopen to the public in early 2018.
[Images via Shine and Sina]