Oura Church (大浦天主堂, Ōura Tenshudō) is a Catholic church in Nagasaki. Built towards the end of the Edo Period in 1864 by a French missionary for the growing community of foreign merchants in the city, it is considered the oldest standing Christian church in Japan.
Oura Catholic Church (Oura Tenshudo) Oura Church was built in 1864, after Japan ended its two-century long Seclusion Policy, whereby access of foreigners to Japan was extremely limited and Christianity was banned.
Established 1865, this church is officially known as "Oura Cathedral, The Church of 26 Martyrs." It was built by the French priest Bernard Petitjean of Fier who had been dispatched by the Foreign Missionary Church of Paris to dedicate prayers to the 26 saints martyred on Nishizaka hill.
Oura Catholic Church (Oura Tenshudo), or formally the Basilica of the Twenty-Six Holy Martyrs of Japan, is Nagasaki's oldest Catholic Church built after the end of the Japanese Government's Seclusion Policy in 1853 between the end of the Edo Period and early Meiji era. Until 2009, the church was the only Western-style building in Japan to be declared a national treasure.
Oura Catholic Church is located about 2.5 km south of JR Nagasaki station. In Japanese, it is called "Ôura Tenshudô". It is on a hill and there is Glover Garden to the west of this church. The church was designed by two French priests, Louis Furet and Bernard Petitjean. And it was built by Japanese carpenters in 1864.
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The Oura Church was constructed in the foreign district of Nagasaki at the end of the Edo period when Japan reversed its policy of isolationism. The Gothic-style church built for the foreign residents features the characteristic elements of medieval European architecture, and is Japan's oldest surviving church.
Oura Tenshudo (Oura Church) epitomizes it. The church was completed in 1865 to be dedicated to the 26 martyrs who were crucified in 1597 due to an anti-Christian edict. The Japanese word "tenshu" in the name of the church means God in Chinese.
The Basilica of the Twenty-Six Holy Martyrs of Japan (日本二十六聖殉教者聖堂) also Ōura Church (大浦天主堂, Ōura Tenshudō) is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and Co-cathedral in Nagasaki, Japan, built soon after the end of the Japanese government's Seclusion Policy in 1853.
In 1864, the church reached completion at No.1A Minamiyamate in the Nagasaki Foreign Settlement. The church had a cross and a sign bearing the Chinese characters tenshudo, meaning “House of God.” Called fransudera (French Temple) by the people of Nagasaki, the church attracted many onlookers.