The Diocese of Hong Kong Island has a long historical background, with several parish churches founded a hundred years ago.
St. Mary’s Church was founded in 1912. St. Mary’s Church was built in the Chinese Renaissance style which incorporated both Western and Chinese architectural style.Diocese of Hong Kong
St. Teresa’s Church is a neo-Romanesque building, completed in 1932. The architect was Dutch Benedictine monk, Adalbert Gresnigt, OSB, who was also a renowned artist. His works are found in the United States, Brazil and many other countries; the former Fu Jen University in Peking and Holy Spirit Seminary in Aberdeen were also designed by him.
St. Teresa’s Church is characterised by its Romanesque concept of balanced symmetry, similar to churches built across Europe during the same period. The aisles are defined by round arches supported on Corinthian columns of local granite, readily distinguished by the acanthus-leaf motif on their capitals.
The windows are glazed in simple geometric patterns of yellow and green, imbuing a humble purity that goes well with the spiritual simplicity of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus. Built in reinforced concrete, the roof beams nevertheless contain a solemn touch of Chinese palace architecture.
In the marble sculpture behind the main altar, the cherub on the cross is seen showering down roses, as a symbol of God’s heavenly grace. The statue was carved to replicate the one in the Carmelite church in Lisieux, France and donated by students of St. Mary’s College. In the colour-mosaic composition on the rear wall (redecorated in 2007 to celebrate the church’s 75th anniversary) are depicted glowing clouds, shower of roses, little white flowers, grass, earth, water, and the burning fire of Hades. It is an allegory to St. Teresa carrying on from her earthly wish and mission for the salvation of souls; from heaven above she showers down roses, for the welfare of mankind, that the earth may be blessed with green grass and flowing springs, full of life’s breath. The statue of Our Lady of Fatima, above the side altar to the left, was among the first shipment from Portugal, after the apparition of 1917.
The campanile on the east side is an iconic feature of the church. Older parishioners still remember the chimes for the Angelus, which continued well into the 1960’s. After World War II, the statue of St. Christopher, patron of traffic safety (by tradition, a third-century figure), was erected near the corner of the fence wall, to the right of the main façade, looking onto the traffic of Prince Edward Road and Waterloo Road, as if to protect divers and pedestrians using these busy thoroughfares. In the past, a special rite for the blessing of motor vehicles was held every year on 25th July; this practice is now discontinued.Wikipedia
Situated at the junction of Wong Nei Chong Road and Broadwood Road, St Margaret’s Church was designed by Italian architect U. Gonella, completed in 1923 and consecrated in 1925.
The broad ascent to the church is organised in two tiers, each with 17 steps paved in granite. The porch is composed of an entablature and a pediment, supported on four granite columns, in the manner of a traditional Greek-style entrance to a basilica. A round rose window is built into the pediment and below, set in the entablature, are four Chinese characters, embossed in gold, meaning “Catholic church.” Standing inside the porch and guarding the entrance are two over-sized sculptures: St. Peter, holding a book in one hand and keys in the other, symbolising Christ’s promise to give him the way leading to the kingdom of Heaven, and St. Paul, holding a sword in one hand and a book in the other, symbolising his works in evangelisation and martyrdom by the sword, for the Gospel’s sake.
Entering through the main doors, the most striking feature that greets the visitor is the Romanesque barrel-vault ceiling, adorned with neatly aligned, rectangular coffers. The vault conveys a soothing and harmonious feeling, while the rectangular coffers give a hint of orderliness. At the rear end of the barrel vault is a semicircular, gridded window, which lets in light, as if an eye were looking down from Heaven, with merciful affection, on the faithful congregated in the church.
At the front end of the nave, towering above the main altar, is a hemispherical dome. A metal-ringed, stone spiral staircase to the left of the altar leads to the bell tower, suggesting one’s uplifting towards the above. Behind the altar is a painting of Jesus appearing to St Margaret, patron of the church. Throughout her life, the saint took it as her duty the promotion of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and was canonised by Pope Benedict XV in 1920.
Before liturgical reform, a high altar was centrally placed at the end of the apse; set in a marble portal, it gave a dignified and solemn image. Two rows of columns, standing on waist-high pediments, define the side aisles, which are enclosed by full-height windows with stained glass set in a geometric pattern of yellow, blue, red and green, imparting a measure of innocence and joy.Wikipedia
The cathedral, built in an English Gothic style, is cruciform in the shape of the Latin cross. The exterior walls of the church were built from brick and stone, while its base and columns were made of granite. Its dimensions are 82 m (269 ft) long, 40 m (131 ft) wide and 23.7 m (78 ft) tall, with the tower at the centre rising to 33.7 m (111 ft).
Located to the right of the main altar and sanctuary is the side altar of St. Joseph. It was given to the cathedral by King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy and the donation was facilitated by Joseph Mary Sala, an expatriate living in Hong Kong who was from the nobility of Italy. It is adorned by the royal coat of arms of the House of Savoy; this conspicuous symbol of Italy was said to have helped the cathedral identify itself as Italian rather than British, and thus, remain untouched throughout the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, as the Kingdom of Italy and Empire of Japan were both signatories to the Tripartite Pact.
Located to the left of the main altar is the side altar of the Sacred Heart. It was previously used as the high altar of the original cathedral at Wellington Street. It now houses the Blessed Sacrament—serving as the cathedral’s main tabernacle after the removal of the high altar in 1969—and is reserved for Eucharistic adoration. Wikipedia
St. John’s Cathedral is the oldest surviving Western ecclesiastical building in Hong Kong, and the oldest Anglican church in the Far East, with its first Sunday service on Sunday, 11 March 1849. It was declared a monument of Hong Kong in 1996.
The cathedral’s architectural style is a plain, unadorned adaptation of 13th century English and Decorated Gothic, which was the popular revivalist style for churches at the time. Along the north wall is a memorial tablet to Captain W.T. Bate RN, who died fighting in Canton.
The bell tower of the cathedral is decorated with a large “VR” on the west face, in commemoration of the institution’s founding during the reign of Queen Victoria. The north and south faces of the tower are decorated with the coats-of-arms of two former Governors of Hong Kong, Sir John Davis and George Bonham.
The first pew on the south side of the interior bears the Royal Arms, as it was formerly reserved for the Governor or any member of the Royal Family visiting Hong Kong before the Handover in 1997.Wikipedia