A History Timeline

1550 Francisco Xavier and others who came to mission in Japan attempt to gain
an audience with the Emperor, but are unable to.
1560 After Jesuit missionary Francisco Xavier leaves Japan, a Japanese Jesuit
who continued missionary work in the country, receives permission from
the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshiki to open a church on Shijo in Kyoto.
1587 A missionary expulsion order is issued, but missionary work continues secretly.
1596 Again an order is issued for the capture and imprisonment of Franciscan
missionaries and all Christians living in Kyoto. A total of 24 people in
Osaka and Kyoto, 7 Franciscan members, 3 Jesuit officials and 14 faithful
lay members of the church are captured, their left earlobes are cut off
at Horikawa Doujya Ichijo Bridge, and they are paraded around the city.
1597 An order to execute the 24 people in Nagasaki is issued so they are marched
to Nagasaki from Kyoto. Two more Christians joined them along the way,
and so a total of 26 Kyoto area Christians are executed in Nagasaki.
1612 An order to destroy all denominations of Christians is issued, and various
other churches in the vicinity of Kyoto are destroyed.
1619 On October 6, near Kamogawa, 52 believers are martyred. They are burned
to death. Eleven of them are children.
1866 A French Foreign Missionary who learns about the history of the martyrdom
in Japan makes a bronze statue of the Madonna. The statue is gifted to
the church of Kyoto for installation on a hill overlooking the city but
it is buried in the Higashiyama Shogun’s mound by Father Vigreux to keep
it safe from destruction.
1873 The Prohibition against Christianity is abolished.
1879 Father Virion of the Paris Foreign Mission arrives in the city and recovers
the “Our Lady of the City” statue. Father Virion rents a house
at Takakura Nijo, opens a French language school, uses the place as a temporary
cathedral and resumes his missionary work.
1881 The temporary cathedral is moved to the main business district of town.
1882 The temporary cathedral is moved to Sanjo Takakura.
1888 Purchase of the land and the mansion at the location of the present Kawaramachi
church. Construction of the original church is begun.
1889 On July 25, the foundation ceremony is held at Saint Francis Xavier Church.
1890 On May 1st, the dedication ceremony of the Saint Francis Xavier church
is held.
1930 The 50th anniversary celebration of the Kyoto mission is held.
1937 The Kyoto Apostolic Prefecture is newly established from the Osaka Diocese.
It’s jurisdiction includes the prefectures of Nara, Mie and Shiga, along
with the Prefecture of Kyoto.
1951 The Kyoto Apostolic Prefecture becomes the current Kyoto Diocese and the
Catholic Kawaramachi Church becomes the Cathedral of the Bishop of Kyoto.
1967 A new cathedral is erected. (The old church is moved to Meiji village in
Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture, and is currently preserved as a National
Cultural asset).
1980 The 100th anniversary of the Kyoto mission church is held.
2017 The 50th anniversary commemorative mass of the new cathedral is held.