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St. Ignatius Cathedral / Church of Xujiahui

St. Ignatius Cathedral
St. Ignatius Cathedral, which is Shanghai's largest Catholic Church is located in the Xujiahui district, a
relatively new and fast developing area just west of the French Concession where many of the city's offices
and businesses are based. The Shanghai Stadium is nearby to the south.

More commonly known as the Xujiahui Church, St. Ignatius Cathedral was designed by English architect
William Doyle, and French Jesuits began its construction around 1905 and finished it about five years later.

The Jesuits were invited here by a local high-ranking Ming Dynasty official, landowner, and scientist, Xu
Guangqi (the district's name Xujiahui, means "Xu Family Village"), who was himself converted to Catholicism
by the Jesuits' most famous missionary to China, Matteo Ricci (1553-1610). Xu is buried in a public park
named after him on Nandan West Road, southwest of the cathedral.

This church was destroyed in the Cultural Revolution and it have been gloriously restored recent year.
Recently restored, the cathedral's stained glass windows have been replaced with the ones that incorporate
Chinese characters and iconography.

As a missionary center, the cathedral grounds once included a library, an orphanage, a college, a publishing house, and its own weather station.
Today only the church, part of the school, and the recently reopened library remain. 

St. Ignatius CathedralIts vast interior of altars, stone columns, Gothic ceilings, stained glass windows, and
paintings of the Last Supper and Stations of the Cross, is yet another chapter in
Shanghai's living history of European architecture. though there is currently a multi-year
project underway to replace the traditional Western-style stained glass with glasswork
imbued with Chinese motifs and characteristics (for example, using a phoenix, the
traditional Chinese symbol for rebirth, to signify the Resurrection). Services are
available every Sunday morning.

Today it stands as the center of Christian worship in Shanghai. Each Sunday, an
estimated 2,000 people attend mass here.


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