Finding a church is a must for me whenever I travel. That's why why this blog has a lot of posts about churches. Nothing changed when I reached Thailand. Despite the fact that it is a Buddhist-dominated country, I know that I will find a Catholic church somewhere.
My search was not in vain because I discovered that there are many Catholic churches in Bangkok. Most prominent of these churches is the Bangkok Cathedral located at Bang Rak District. The cathedral is the residence of the archbishop of Bangkok Archdiocese.
How to Go to Bangkok Cathedral
My journey to Bangkok Cathedral involved a lot of walking. I went down the Saphan Thaksin Station of the Sky Train and then walked northwards along Thanon Charoen Krung. Since I was not allowed to reach the cathedral through the gates of Assumption College, I walked few meters more then turned left to Soi Burapha Street and left again to Soi Oriental Street, which is the interior street of the cathedral complex.
The faster way to reach the cathedral is by boarding a ferry at Saphan Thaksin Station. You can then disembark at Oriental Pier, which is just a short walk to Bangkok Cathedral.
|Oriental Pier is at the end of this road. The white building to the left is already part of the cathedral complex.|
I felt like I'm in Manila the moment I entered the cathedral complex. The place is like a mini-Intramuros because of the presence of European-styled buildings.
I have never seen a church like the Bangkok Cathedral in the Philippines. The architectural style of this cathedral is called Romanesque. The cathedral looks simple but beautiful. Its exterior is made of red bricks, which stands out from the white buildings that surround it.
The official name of this church is the Assumption Cathedral, in honor of the Virgin Mary when she was assumed in to Heaven.
It was good to note that the current structure of the cathedral was made through the generous donation of a Chinese businessman, Mr. Low Khiok Chang. He is known for helping in the construction of many churches in Singapore, Thailand and China.
Of course I wanted to enter cathedral but the door was closed.
I pushed, turned the door knob and then pushed again but the door didn't budge. I discovered with great disappointment, that the cathedral was closed due to renovation It will open its doors again in 2014. Alas, I will never see what is inside Bangkok Cathedral.
Fortunately, I saw a religious sister (whose name is Sister Vianney) and she helped me enter Bangkok Cathedral through the back door.
The interior of Bangkok Cathedral is indeed beautiful! The ceilings are well decorated and the altar is splendid. I didn't take any photo because it is prohibited. I just borrowed some photos from the Bangkok Cathedral Facebook page so I have something to show to you.
Notice that the ceiling has stars in blue background. The striped colors of the beams are unique and I have never seen before in other churches.
The tabernacle is located at the center. The ceiling above the altar also have beautiful paintings. The image of Our Lady of the Assumption is located just above the tabernacle.
I can say that the interior of Bangkok Cathedral is one of the best that I had ever seen! The ceiling is elegant and the arrangement of the altar is correct. Being surrounded by such beauty is enough to make me contemplate better about our Lord, who is the creator of every beautiful things on earth.
The Couvent De L'Assomption is located within the cathedral complex. The name of the convent shows the Frenchiness of the place.
The propagation of Christian Faith in Thailand was tasked to the Society of Foreign Missions of Paris. Thus, the first structure of the cathedral was made through the efforts of a French missionary (Father Pascal) and a French architect during the reign of King Rama II.
The cathedral and buildings surrounding it became the home of missionaries arriving in Bangkok during the 1600's up to Second World War. A French community grew up around the cathedral. This is the reason why the French Embassy was located in the vicinity of Bangkok Cathedral.
Blessed Pope John Paul II visited Bangkok Cathedral in 1984. It is not surprising that I saw him in front of the cathedral.
Saint Peter, the first Bishop of Rome, was also present.
I parted ways with Sister Vianney when we went out of the cathedral. She said that she will pray for me and then gave me these flowers:
I did not get the chance to pray for long time inside the cathedral and I may never get a chance to attend a Mass there but what I got is a prayer from a person consecrated to God and that is a great blessing for me.
Information about the Bangkok Cathedral and Low Khiok Chang came from Wikipedia.
Have been to Bangkok? Did you got the chance to visit Bangkok Cathedral? Tell us your experiences by leaving a comment on the combox below.