Southern Cathedral

Southern Cathedral

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This is the Southern Cathedral or Nantang, built in 1703. It was formerly erected on the site of the house where the missionary Matteo Ricco lived. The building standing today is the fourth Southern Cathedral, the other three were destroyed in the past. While in 1979, the Southern Cathedral, or’ St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church, at Xuanwumen, was the only place Beijing Catholics could at-tend masses, with the biggest attendance being no more than 80. Nowadays, the Eastern Cathedral, the Church of St. Joseph, is also open. The average attendance at the two cathedrals are 400 on week-days, 2,000 on Sundays and more than 15,000 for Easter and Christmas services. The church is now fully functioning, It does baptisms, confessions, Holy Communions, confirmations, weddings, ordinations, and last rites. Every year the church baptises 400 people, con-firms 200, and marries 100 couples. Both people wanting to be married by the church must be Catholics.
Catholicism was introduced into China in 1582, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It began to develop after the Opium War in1840, and by 1949 there were about 3 million Catholics in China. A Catholic congress was held in Beijing in July 1957, which announced the founding of the China Patriotic Catholic Association.

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