Sunday, September 21, 2014


Like an oasis in a desert of rubble - I think this old part of the city was cleared already several years ago - sits Shanghai's oldest Catholic Church, St Francis Xavier. It's known here as 懂家度天主堂 or Dongjiadu lu Cathedral, named after the street whose only occupant it now is, and has masses in Chinese, Korean and English. I was there for a Chinese one, and understood about 1% of the words but much more of the context. The huge golden Orthodox-inspired altarpiece seems new but I was drawn to paintings that place salvation history in China, like this one below, its clearly symbolic color scheme new to me. Not only the little red-winged black-haired cherubs are Chinese, though 天主 God seems beyond ethnicity...

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