Sunday, January 17, 2016

Saint Francis Xavier Church: Hirado, Nagasaki Prefecture

Hirado in Nagasaki Prefecture is home to many Christian churches but the most-photographed is the St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church.
Sitting atop a hill overlooking the small town and its harbor, the church was originally named the Hirado Catholic Church, but was renamed following the placing of a statue of St. Xavier in the grounds.  The church was originally built on a different site in 1913 but was reconstructed at its present location in 1931.  
There are so many writings about Saint Francis Xavier but here are a couple of excerpts that i think fully show how significant he was during his life:
Arriving in Japan in 1550, Jesuit priest Francis Xavier played a key role in the early spread of Christianity in the country. His missionary work included preaching in Hirado in the northwest of present-day Nagasaki Prefecture, where Christianity took root most firmly and “hidden Christians” preserved the faith during centuries of prohibition. Today Hirado is home to numerous historic churches, testifying to the enduring influence of Spanish and Portuguese missionaries.
St. Francis was a model for missionaries, formed upon the spirit of the apostles.  So absolute a master was he of his passions that he knew not what it was to have the least notion of anger or impatience and in all events was perfectly resigned to the Divine Will, from whence proceeded an admirable tranquility of soul, a perpetual cheerfulness, and equality of countenance.  He rejoiced in afflictions and sufferings and said that one who had once experienced the sweetness of suffering for Christ, will ever after find it worse than death to live without a cross.  By humility, the saint was always ready to follow the advice of others and attributed all blessings to their prayers which he most earnestly implored.

There are so many interesting and important historical statues and landmarks on the site that one can easily get lost in the historical significance and be overwhelmed by the tragedy and sacrifice of it all, for example the Monument to the Martyrdom of Fr. Camillus Costanzo, an Italian missionary, stands as a symbol of dedication to one`s faith and belief`s.
I wandered around for a good 45 minutes and wish I could have gone inside and taken some more videos and photos but as a crowd had gathered (the area is full of pilgrims of Christian and non christian faith) I didn't want to be disrespectful and cause a scene.  I am fairly certain that i will be back for some further investigations.
Please check out the Saint Francis Xavier Church Nagasaki here on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

In all its glory!

Nagasaki Churches
English Reading Material

Strong images everywhere

Inside the Church

Famous view of the church with a temple in the foreground.

Lots of info
Powerful image

Here is a video of the Saint Francis Xavier Church Nagasaki for your pursual:

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