Xishiku Cathedral China, Beijing

Xishiku Cathedral

The Church of the Saviour, colloquially referred to as Xishiku Church or Beitang is a historic Catholic church in the Xicheng District, Beijing, China. Of all the cathedrals and churches located in Beijing, the Xishiku church is one of the most ornate and magnificent.

The church was originally established by the Jesuits in 1703 near Zhongnanhai (opposite the former Beijing Library), on land bestowed by the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty to the Jesuits in 1694, following his recovery from illness thanks to medical expertise of Fathers Jean-François Gerbillon and Joachim Bouvet. The emperor also hand-wrote the calligraphy plaque and couplets for the building. It was named "Saviour Church" and officially opened on 9 February 1703.

In 1887 the church was moved and rebuilt at its current location, at the request of the Guangxu Emperor, who needed the original space near the Forbidden City to create the Zhongnanhai Park. The cathedral's present cast iron Gothic architectural style and elaborate grey marble facade was built in 1890, under the direction of Lazarist missionary Bishop Pierre-Marie-Alphonse Favier (1837-1905), who designed it. The church stands in a spacious grounds surrounded by pine and oak tree and two Chinese pavilions.

The church is affiliated with the Patriotic Catholic Church of China. It was the seat of the Bishop of Beijing until 1958.

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