Holy spirit

TAIWAN Yanshui Holy Spirit Church built in Taiwanese style

Located in southern Taiwan, the church’s design, murals, and motifs are typical of the island and reflect its many Buddhist and Taoist temples. The cross stands on top of a pagoda roof. Red lanterns and a Last Supper mural with Jesus breaking a steamed bun decorate the interior. For the current parish priest, the church has been adapted to the local environment.

Yanshui (AsiaNews / Agencies) – In Taiwan, at least one Catholic church is architecturally unusual with a pagoda roof and painted dragons and other Taiwanese motifs.

The Church of the Holy Spirit in Yanshui, a rural district in southern Taiwan, resembles the thousands of Buddhist and Taoist temples that dot the island.

About 60 years ago, a German missionary built the wooden church in a traditional style. In 1986, Father Li Shaofeng began to reconstruct it to reflect the most indigenous features of the island, using lanterns, red pillars, and painted dragon motifs.

Now, murals cover almost all interior walls, depicting scenes from the Bible, but most of the figures look Asian and wear Chinese-style clothing.

Even the bread from “The Last Supper”, honoring the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci, is replaced by baozi, Chinese steamed buns.

At the back is a shrine with candles and a bowl of Chinese incense to commemorate the late pastors of the church. Burning incense is a common Chinese homage to deities or ancestors.

“The pastor (P. Li) thought about building a more Chinese style church to adapt to the local environment,” said Joseph Chung, the current pastor.

Most of Taiwan’s people, around 70 percent, are Taoists or Buddhists. Christians are about 6 percent. Catholics number 300,000.