THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Dragons and steamed buns

TAIWAN: With a cross rising from a red pagoda roof and two lion statues guarding the entrance, a Catholic church in southern Taiwan could easily be mistaken for one of the ubiquitous temples dotting the island.

cultureconstructionChinesereligion
By AFP

Sunday 2 September 2018, 12:00PM


There are more than 1,000 churches across the island but the Holy Spirit Church is particularly unique. Photo: AFP

There are more than 1,000 churches across the island but the Holy Spirit Church is particularly unique. Photo: AFP

Taiwan embraces freedom of religion and has one of the highest densities of temples in the world, with close to 70% of the population believers in Taoism, Buddhism, and Chinese folk traditions.

About six percent of Taiwan’s 23.57 million population are Christian, with 300,000 of those Catholic.

There are more than 1,000 churches across the island but the Holy Spirit Church is particularly unique.

Located on a quiet road in the rural town of Yanshui, about an hour’s drive from southern Tainan city, it started life as a simple wooden structure, built by a German missionary more than six decades ago.

However, in 1986 it was reconstructed by Chinese pastor Li Shaofeng who had a very different vision, melding features of a typical Chinese temple into the design, including lanterns, red pillars, and painted dragons motifs.

“The pastor thought of building a more Chinese-style church to adapt to the local environment,” said Joseph Chung, the church’s current pastor.

“He built this church hoping to attract more followers,” said Chung, 67.

Several other churches in Taiwan incorporate some temple-like characteristics, but none to the same extent.

Murals cover almost all of the interior walls of the Holy Spirit Church, depicting teachings from the Bible, but with a twist – most of the figures look Asian and wear Chinese-style clothing.

Even the bread in the church’s mural of The Last Supper – the famous Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus and his apostles – is replaced with baozi, Chinese steamed buns.

EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019

At the back of the main hall, next to the confessional, is a shrine with candles and a Chinese incense bowl to commemorate the church’s late pastors.

Burning incense is a common Chinese tribute to deities or ancestors.

Chung says the number of regular followers attending services has dropped in recent years as Yanshui residents move to bigger cities.

But masses are still held daily, with special events drawing believers from all over southern Taiwan.

The music for the services is performed by Catholic nuns from the attached Monastery of St Clare, which was started in 1990.

Churchgoer Cecilia Huang has been a regular visitor to the Holy Spirit Church for 20 years and says she particularly likes praying with the nuns.

Huang says she appreciates the church’s design aesthetic and says it does not change the nature of her religion.

“The essence is the same,” said Huang, 66.

“It’s only the appearance that looks like it’s integrated into Taiwan’s environment, bringing blessings to this place.”

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Phoenix finally risen from seabed

"Only know how to make somtam". Keep your unintelligent racist hate speeches where they be...(Read More)


Tourist Police target rental operators over unlicensed tourists renting motorbikes

No, they're allowed to do whatever the heck they like as they're Thai, foreigners however we...(Read More)


Bike Un Ai Rak - Governor invites all to participate

Wow, a important Governor job! Is this why a province has a Governor? How about the critical Phuket...(Read More)


Low water levels at Phuket reservoir spur concerns for drastic water-saving measures

Correct me if I am wrong, but I have personally witnessed an extraordinary amount of rainfall this s...(Read More)


Low water levels at Phuket reservoir spur concerns for drastic water-saving measures

Oh, and remember, when you expand Phuket airport facilities, unlimited tourist accommodation buildin...(Read More)


Low water levels at Phuket reservoir spur concerns for drastic water-saving measures

Low water levels? September:17 days of rain. October:22 days of rain. November, ( just 18 days old) ...(Read More)


Phuket Marine Office urges water safety for Loy Krathong

Talking to thai officials about INTERNATIONAL rules is waist of time. 1: Or don't know about i...(Read More)


God is a DJ - A divine event at Dream Beach Club

Which thai Authority/Official did authorise the presence of that club at that location? Did NACC inv...(Read More)


Phoenix finally risen from seabed

Actually, as I predicted ( knowing this foreign company, with branch in Thailand), besides preparati...(Read More)


Tourist Police target rental operators over unlicensed tourists renting motorbikes

Does Gen Angkoon knows about the high percentage of thai ( underaged kids too) drive, without helmet...(Read More)