08/25/2018, 08.00
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Yanshui’s 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 steamed bun decorate the interior. For the current pastor, the church was 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 Holy Spirit Church in Yanshui, a rural district in southern Taiwan, resembles the thousands of Buddhist and Taoist temples that dot the island.

Some 60 years ago, a German missionary built the wooden church in a traditional style. In 1986, Fr Li Shaofeng began rebuilding it to reflect the island’s more native features, using lanterns, red pillars, and painted dragon motifs.

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

Even the bread in "The Last Supper", honouring the famous Leonardo da Vinci painting, is replaced with baozi, Chinese steamed buns.

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

"The pastor (Fr Li) thought of building a more Chinese-style church to adapt to the local environment," said Joseph Chung, the current pastor.

Most people in Taiwan, about 70 per cent, are Taoist or Buddhist. Christians are around 6 per cent. Catholics number 300,000.

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