NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

2006/12/18

大浦天主堂(国宝) Ooura-tensyu-dou Ooura Cathedral, National Treasure

Jp En


Ooura-tenshudo, or Ooura Cathedral, is the only church designated as a National Treasure and is the oldest remaining wooden gothic-style church in Japan. It is officially named “Church of the twenty-six Saints of Japan” and faces Nishizaka Hill. At this location in 1597, by order of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the absolute ruler of Japan at the time who outlawed Catholicism and persecuted Christians, twenty Japanese Christians and six European missionaries were crucified. Later in 1862, these Martyrs of Japan were canonized by the Catholic Church and remembered by other Christians worldwide. To commemorate the Saints, Ooura Cathedral was built under the direction of the French priest, Bernard Petitjean. When the Cathedral was originally built in a gothic style with three steeples, it had some unusual features such as its front center wall being baroque style and the outer walls being decorated with Namako-kabe style, geometrical patterns of white and darker colors. It was reconstructed in 1879 when all the outer walls were replaced with brick, converting it solely into a gothic-style building.

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