About the Kawaramachi Catholic Church

About the Kawaramachi Catholic Church
The Kawaramachi Church is also called “St. Francis Xavier Cathedral.”
St. Francis Xavier, one of the missionaries who first introduced Christianity
to Japan is the patron saint of the church.
Enter through the main gate of the church, go straight to the entrance of the sanctuary, and you will find the reception desk on your left. If this is your first time here or if you have any questions, please ask here. We also have an AED at the reception desk, so please ask in case of an emergency.
At the Entrance
The bronze statue of the Madonna and Child at the entrance of the cathedral
was created by the sculptor Kinouchi Yoshi in 1972.
Inside the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral
The church is 4 rows of pews in width and 20 rows in length. The pews are
wooden and movable. 440 people can be seated at one time. We also have
a hearing aid system, so if you wish to use it, please contact a receptionist
at the reception desk of the cathedral for help. The cathedral was designed
by a Swiss priest, the Rev. Froiler. The church is 43 meters in length
(east to west) and 15.4 meters in width (north to south.) The height of
the roof is 24 meters. The roof design incorporates the ancient Japanese
shrine style.
The Martyrs of Kyoto
In the back of the cathedral to the left side as you enter, there is a
small prayer room that is dedicated to the 52 Kyoto martyrs from among
the the 187 martyrs of Japan who were beatified, declared “Blessed”, by
the Catholic church in Nagasaki in 2008. There are also an official reproduction
of the “St. Francis Xavier Statue”, a glass etched picture (circa
in 1987) showing Lazarus resurrected, a picture of “The Great Martyrdom
of Kyoto” in 1619, and the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. The confessional
is on the right side of that room as you enter.
The stained glass windows
In the cathedral you can see the stained glass windows of Hans Stocker
of Switzerland on the righthand side as you enter. The first window frame
on your right as you enter the church depicts the Archan-gel Michael followed
by the image of the church’s patron saint, Saint Francis Xavier.
Thereafter are frames depicting various Stations of the Cross, all on the
right side of the church as you enter.
The Altar
The altar, the lectern, the sanctuary, the wall behind the bishop’s chair,
the seats of the inner sanctum and the floor are all made of marble.
The Emblem of the Diocese
What you see above the bishop’s seat behind the altar is the Crest of the
Bishop of the Kyoto Diocese. The main cross has on it the Greek letters
Α (alpha) and Ω (omega), the ship crossing the world’s rough waves is led
by the Hope Star, the miter shaped hat and staff of the bishop form the
mast and sails of the ship which guide it, and four crosses representing
the four prefectures (Kyoto, Shiga, Nara, Mie) that make up the Kyoto Diocese.
On the hull of the ship are the words “I am not afraid” and the
lower part shows the bishops’ motto “That all may be one”,both
written in Latin.
The pipe organ
On the second floor balcony at the back of the cathedral, there is a pipe
organ. It was designed and manufactured by the Bosch Company of Germany
and was installed in February of 1971.
Basement Entrance
There is a basement entrance that you can enter which is to the right of
the main stairs.The wheelchair-bound can use the elevator that is between
the stairs to the main entrance and the stairs going to the basement.
Basement and “Our Lady of the Capital”

In 1847, when Father Leon Lobin, who was the head priest of a church in
a small village in Eastern France, learned about the spectacular martyrdom
history in Japan, he started a local “movement to pray for the restoration
of the church in Japan”, but when this call was made it spread beyond
his village and became a big movement throughout France. In 1865 a teacher
received a commission to make a bronze statue of the Madonna for the church
in the Japanese capital by Pope Pius IX in order to fulfill Xavier’s wish
and it was christened “Our Lady of the Capital City” (Notre Dame
de Miyako). It was entrusted to the French foreign mission to be set up
on a hill overlooking Kyoto. But sometime after it ar-rived in Kyoto it
was buried in the Shogun’s mound in Higashiyama by a Father Vigreux to
preserve it from anti-Christian ordinances. It wasn’t until 1879 that it
was excavated by the hand of Father Virion who had been assigned to Kyoto
as a missionary. From that time un-til 2004, this statue had been carefully
preserved at the Kawaramachi Church, but then it was moved to a newly established
church dedicated to “Our Lady of the Capital City.”