Located near Xuanwumen Gate, at No. 141 West Qianmen Street in Beijing, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is known to the locals as Xuanwumen Catholic Church or Beijing South Cathedral. As a huge painting of Virgin Mary hangs on the wall behind the pulpit, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the main cathedral in Beijing parish, and also the existing oldest Roman Catholic Church in China.
Unlike other churches, this one has a traditional Chinese style door, which makes it even more unique. When you walk in, you will see a complete statue of matteo ricci. The description of his life story is inscribed on the plinth. To the right of the statue there is a pool and a rockery that forms the altar of Notre Dame. A white statue of the virgin Mary is surrounded by rockery. On the rock beneath the statue are two Chinese characters for “wan fu”, literally “hail Mary”. The rockery is an important place for Catholic believers to pray.
Through the rockery and moon gate, you enter the east courtyard where the church is located. To the south of the yard are two shops selling religious books and art. Keep going, you’ll be stopped by the church. A large cross stands on the roof of the cathedral, presenting a magnificent view. Magnificent brick carvings adorn the three high arches. Dozens of chandeliers hang on the ceiling of the hall, creating an elegant and sacred atmosphere. There is a row of pillars on either side of the hall. The two walls behind the pillars are stained glass Windows. Some are decorated with flowers and human figures, while others use pictures to tell religious stories. The altar is at the far north end of the church. Above the altar hung a picture of the virgin Mary, and beneath it a cross. The image of Jesus was set on the west side of the altar, opposite the image of Joseph. The choirs, whose seats occupy the southern part of the hall, sing hymns at mass.
At present, the cathedral has more than five thousand members. Mass is held three times on weekdays and five times on Sundays. In addition, there is a vigil at mass every Saturday night. Nowadays, churches not only hold various religious activities and activities for local and foreign believers, but also hold weddings for secular people.