ALL THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL IN HO CHI MINH

NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL CHURCH IN HO CHI MINH

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Cathedral church 

Located at 1 Paris Commune Square, District 1. The Cathedral is also known as Notre Dame Cathedral, built under Bishop Colombert, in charge of the diocese. The bishop placed the first stone (October 7, 1877) and also celebrated the inauguration ceremony (August 11, 1880). The church was built according to the design of architect Burrard, an expert on religious architectural works. This project is one of 18 construction projects submitted from August 1876.

 

           The Cathedral is a Roman-style structure of 91 m long, 35m5 wide, 21m high dome, the height of two square towers from the ground is 36m6, if including the top of the bell tower due to the architecture Gardes added in 1885, this height will be 57.6 m. The church is decorated with 56 stained-glass windows depicting biblical characters or events, 31 round rose images and 25 bull-eye windows, all in a mosaic pattern. Let's learn about the history and uniqueness of Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City.

window in the church

During the war of the French colonialists in Vietnam, shortly after capturing Saigon, France established a church to serve as a place of worship for Catholics in the expedition army. The first church was built on the 5th street (now Ngo Duc Ke street). This is a small temple of Vietnamese people abandoned by the war, the late Lefebvre has turned this temple into a church. The first church was so small that in 1863, Admiral Bonard decided to start construction elsewhere a wooden church on the bank of the "Great Bible" (also known as the Charter Sutra, during the Republic of Vietnam). Headquarters of the Litigation Court). The late Lefebvre directed the "First Stone Place" to build the church on March 28, 1863. The church was built of wood, completed in 1865, originally called Saigon Cathedral. Later, as the wooden church was greatly damaged by termites, the ceremonies were held in the secret room of the old "Governor's Palace", later transformed into Taberd school, until the church was completed...

Backside of the Church

 In August 1876, the Governor of the South Duperré held a contest to draw a new architectural project of a church. There is a place of worship and worship for believers, both to promote Catholicism and the greatness of French civilization before the colonists. Overcoming 17 other design projects, the project of architect J. Bourad with modified Roman architecture mixed with Gothic strokes was selected.

Initially, the construction site was proposed in 3 places: On the old exam floor (now the corner of Le Duan and Hai Ba Trung streets, the location of the French Consulate); In Kinh Lon area (at the old church location, now on Nguyen Hue street) and current location

After the design project was chosen, Admiral Duperré bid for the construction of the cathedral and it was architect J. Bourad who won the bid and directly supervised the project. All materials from cement, steel to screws are brought from France. Especially, the outside of the building is made of bricks made in Marseille (France) bare, not plastered, (up to now, the color is still bright pink) without moss.

 

On October 7, 1877, Bishop Isidore Colombert placed the first stone in front of the Marshal of Cochinchina and had many influential figures of his day. The cathedral was built in 3 years. Easter, April 11, 1880, the dedication and inauguration ceremony was solemnly organized by the late Colombert, in the presence of the Governor of Cochinchina Le Myre de Villers. Currently, on the pedestal above, inside the entrance to the church, there is a marble board mounted in the hallway (transept) showing the commencement date, the inauguration date and the name of the architect.

Old picture of the Church

All construction and interior decoration expenses were covered by the Government of Cochinchina, with the amount of 2,500,000 France France at the exchange rate of the time. Initially, the cathedral was called the State Church because it was built and managed by the French government.

In 1895, the church built two more bell towers, each tower was 57.6m high and the two towers had 6 large copper bells weighing 28.85 tons. On the top of the tower is attached across 3.50 meters high, 2 meters across, weighing 600 kg. Overall height from the ground to the top of the cross is 60.50m

On a flower garden in front of the church, in 1903, the French erected a bronze statue of Pigneau de Béhaine (also known as Bishop Adran because he became the Bishop of Adran) leading Prince Canh (Gia Long's son) to praise the public. labor of France "protects" and "civilizes" for Vietnam. The monument consists of a circular cylindrical red marble pedestal and above it is a statue of Bishop Adran with a bishop's dress, the left hand leading Prince Canh. Statue made of bronze, cast in France, the common people at that time often called the "Two-figure" statue to distinguish it from the "One-picture" statue, a statue of the French Admiral of the Genouilly Genouilly on the Me Linh construction site ( end of Hai Ba Trung street, near the bank of Saigon river).

The priest personally wrote a prayer for "May Our Lady give Vietnam peace" and read it before a large number of guests present. The next day, the Cardinal Aganianian from Rome to Saigon to preside over the closing ceremony of the Congregation of the Holy Mother blessed this statue in the afternoon of February 17, 1959. Due to this statue from which the church got its name called Notre Dame Cathedral.

 

On December 5, 1959, the Cathedral was elevated to the rank of Basilica by the Vatican and the Cardinal Agagianian, Pope John XXIII's special envoy, blessed the statue of the Queen of Peace in the park first. church, on the occasion of your visit to Saigon. Since then, the official name of the cathedral is the Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon.

In 1960, the Holy See established Vietnamese clergy with three archbishops in Hanoi, Hue, and Saigon. The church became the cathedral of Archbishop of Saigon to this day.

During the construction process, all construction materials from cement, steel to screws were brought from France. The exterior of the building is made of bricks made in Marseille bare, not plastered, (up to now, still bright pink), free of moss. Some broken tiles in the church have the words Guichard Carvin, Marseille St André France

(perhaps the site of this tile), another piece of tile has the words Wang-Tai Saigon. This is probably the tile produced later in Saigon to replace broken tiles during World War II due to Allied airstrikes. The entire cathedral has 56 stained-glass windows manufactured by Lorin of Chartres (France).

The foundation of the cathedral is specially designed to withstand 10 times the load of the entire architecture of the church above. And an extraordinary thing is that the church did not have a fence or a wall like the churches around Saigon 

A corner outside of the Church

 

The interior of the cathedral has two rectangular main rows, six on each side representing 12 apostles. Right behind the main column is a corridor and next to it are many small chapels with small altars (more than 20 altars) and altars and small statues made of white stone. The altar where the Sacred Palace is made of monolithic marble shaped like six angels carved into the stone supporting the altar surface, the pedestal divided into three cells, each cell is a sculpture depicting relics. The walls are decorated with 56 glass windows depicting biblical characters or events, 31 round rose pictures, 25 stained-glass cow windows combined with beautiful images. All lines, edges, patterns comply with Roman and Gothic patterns, dignified and elegant. However, of these 56 glass doors, only four of them are intact as before, while other stained glass windows were remodeled in about 1949 to replace the original stained glass doors of the church. Most tanks in World War II.

The interior of the cathedral at night is electrically illuminated (without candles) right after its inauguration. During the day, with its excellent light-blending design, in harmony with the interior, the interior of the cathedral creates a soft light, creating a sense of security and holiness.

 

Just above the main door is the "guard" with a tube organ, one of the two oldest pianos in Vietnam today. This instrument is hand-made by foreign experts, designed so that when the instrument sounds enough for the whole church to listen, it is not small nor noise. The body of the instrument is about 3m high, 4m horizontal, about 2m long, containing aluminum steam pipes about an inch in diameter. The control section is separately connected to the body by axes, with keyboards like normal organs and large keys placed on the floor (about 3m long, about 1m long) for the driver to step on the keyboard when using the note deep. The guitar also has big knock bars to knock on the lower part of the steam pipes making sounds. Currently, this guitar has completely broken due to being eaten by the wood keyboard.

Initially, the two bell towers were 36.6m high, had no roof and only had a narrow staircase about 40 cm wide. The interior of the bell tower is very dark and the floor is lined with small pieces of wood at a distance, looking down to see the depth. In 1895, the cathedral built two additional spiers to guard the 21-meter-high bell, designed by architect Gardes, totaling 57 meters high. There are 6 big bells (sol: 8,785kg, la: 5,931kg, si: 4,184kg, dollar: 4,315kg, droll: 2,194, mi: 1,646kg), including six tones, weighing a total of 28.85 tons, set under two bells. This bell set was made in France and brought to Saigon in 1879. On the right tower is hanging 4 bells (sol, do, re, mi); the left tower hangs 2 bells (la, si). On the face of each bell are very delicate motifs. The total weight of the bell set is 27,055kg, about 27 tons if counting the weight system (1,840kg) is mounted on each bell, the total weight of the bell will be 28,895kg.

The Bell of the Church

The three largest bells are si bell weighing 4,184kg, bell la weighing 5,931kg and especially sol bell is one of the largest bells in the world: weighing 8,785 kg, bell mouth diameter of 2.25m, height of 3.5m (taking into account the hanging knob). The bell only rings once a year on New Year's Eve.

 

The bells are electrically controlled from below. Particularly three large bells before hitting are started by pedaling (because it's too heavy) to shake before turning on the power switch. On weekdays, the cathedral only rings one mi at 5 am and rings at 16.15. On holidays and Sundays, the church usually rings three chords in the Mi, Re and Do chords (rather, the three chimes of Mi, Do and Sol, but because the Sol bell is too heavy, it is replaced by the Re bell). On New Year's Eve, all 6 of the bells ring. The bell rang as far as 10 km as the crow flew.

A Watch of the Church

The movement of the clock in front of the dome is about 15m from the ground, between two bell towers made in Switzerland in 1887, RA performance, about 2.5m high, about 3m long and more than 1m horizontal, weighs more than 1 ton, placed lying on the pedestal. Although rudimentary, old but quite accurate operation. To adjust the clock, behind the machine is a clock the size of the clock rang in the family. Just by watching this sub-clock, you can tell the big clock is running slow, fast, right or wrong time. The clock must be set once a week and the lever needed to set the seconds is like a crank. The clock also had a hammer timer that struck the church bells, but it was no longer working due to the old winding.

The front of the cathedral is a park with four cross streets forming a cross. At the center of the park is a statue of Our Lady of Peace (or Queen of Peace). The statue was made by the sculptor G. Cicchetti in 1959. The author's name is written on the dress at the foot, the left side of the statue. The statue is 4.6m high, weighs 8 tons, Italian white marble, carved with the intention to see from afar so it is not polished, so that the whole body, including the face area, is still sculpted. rough. Statue of Our Lady in an upright position, holding the globe, on the globe with a cross attached, Our Lady's eyes stared up at the sky as if praying for Vietnam and for the world to be peaceful. The Foot of Mary kicked the head of the serpent (which is now broken by the upper jaw). On the stone pedestal, in front of the statue, people have attached a copper plaque with Latin words:

At the foot of the stone pedestal, a cavity was carved into the foot of the statue of Our Lady, including a silver box, containing prayers for peace of Vietnam and the world. The prayers were written on thin leaves in different materials such as gold, silver, tin, aluminum, paper, leather and copper, and were sent from many parts of Vietnam, including from some areas. outside the North.

         Every year, on Christmas Eve, hundreds of thousands of Catholic young men and women gather here to celebrate Christmas day.



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