大浦天主堂 (Oura Tenshudo)
The reunion that spanned more than 250 years
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. For this reason, the church faces Nishizaka. Representative of Europe in mediaeval times, the church was constructed in the Gothic style and is Japan's oldest existing wooden church. It was designated a National Treasure in 1933. French stained glass was installed in the interior some 100 years ago, but most of this was seriously damaged in the atomic bomb blast. It has since been restored with some pieces of other stained glass from that period. The prayer space collects the beautiful light that infuses the church's interior. Oura Cathedral became famous worldwide as the church that discovered the "hidden followers" who had survived the religious persecution.