The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd

A Queen St, Singapore 188533

Location: between Queen Street and Victoria Street, at their junctions with Bras Basah Road.

DESCRIPTION

The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, the oldest surviving Roman Catholic Church in Singapore, was constructed between 1843 and 1847 and funded by public subscription. It is the seat of the Catholic Archdiocese, and is testimonial to the spread of Catholicism in the region.

Designed by Denis Lesley McSwiney, much of its architecture has the Roman Tuscan features of St Paul's, Covent Garden, and the temple-like proportions and design of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, U.K. The church was built in the traditional Latin style of a cross, orientated east, with Tuscan columns surrounding its perimeters. The building consists primarily of the Nave, North Transept & South Transept and all the 6 entrances are porticoed with heavily moulded pediments.

The church steeple, designed by Scottish artist, Charles Alexander Dyce, was erected in 1847.

The sanctuary features a large crucifix hanging against a mosaic background of rays and framed with twin pilasters at the sides and a triangular pediment above. The entrance doors and windows of the cathedral are made of stained-glass panels while the timber ceiling is decorated with tessellations of rectangles and circles patterns.

The Nave features several statues of interest, including Saint Anthony of Padua, Saint Francis Xavier, the Pietà and Saint Joseph, while the statue of Our Mother of Good Counsel and the Tabernacle is in a niche topped by a pediment and flanked by two pilasters.

Numerous large windows around the church ventilate the interior and the walls are adorned with 14 antique oil paintings of the Way of the Cross.

Improvements were constantly and gradually added to the Cathedral, such as Antwerp marble paving in 1860, the nave extended in 1888, the Gallery Organ installed on 20 October 1912, electric lighting in 1913 and electric fans in 1914. The Gallery Organ installed by Bevington & Sons is the oldest playable pipe organ in Singapore.

It serves as a reminder of the contributions of early local Catholic missionaries in communities, particularly in regard to architecture and education.

HISTORY

The original church was built for the Société des Missions Etrangères de Paris, who had been operating from a small, modest chapel. They soon outgrew their little chapel and had to expand. The construction of the new church began with the laying of its cornerstone on 18 June 1843, and the new, completed church was opened by Reverend Father Jean-Marie Beurel on 6 June 1847.

It is the final resting place of Bishop Edouard Gasnier, the first bishop of the revived Diocese of Malacca and holds the relics of Saint Laurent-Marie-Joseph Imbert, from whom the Cathedral derived its name. Note : Saint Laurent-Marie-Joseph Imbert was martyred for his faith by the Koreans in 1839 and has since been canonised by the Catholic Church.

The Cathedral was gazetted as a national monument on 28 June 1973.

The original site was converted into St Joseph’s Institution and went on to become the present Singapore Art Museum. The church was completed and blessed on 6th June 1847 at a total cost of 18,355.22 Spanish dollars. Its status was elevated to cathedral in 1888 when the Diocese of Malacca was revived. The consecration ceremony, however, did not take place until the 14 February 1897 when the cathedral fully settled its debts.

The Cathedral was used as an emergency hospital during World War 2 and continued after that as a centre of peace and refuge for those in need.

CURRENT

The Cathedral closed on 28 October 2013 and is still in the process of undergoing comprehensive restoration works, which are expected to be completed by the end of 2015.



References:

1. Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. (30 July, 2015). RESOURCES: Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. Retrieved from INTER-RACIAL AND RELIGIOUS CONFIDENCE CIRCLE: Link Here

2. National Heritage Board. (8 May , 2015). Places: Sites & Monuments. Retrieved from NATIONAL HERITAGE BOARD: Link Here

3. National Library Board Singapore. (30 July, 2015). Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. Retrieved from SINGAPORE INFOPEDIA: Link Here

4. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore. (30 July, 2015). ARCHBISHOP: Cathedral of the Good Shepherd . Retrieved from THE ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF SINGAPORE: Link Here

5. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (27 July, 2015). Article: Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. Retrieved from WIKIPEDIA THE FREE ENCYCLOPEDIA: Link Here

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