Saturday 18th May 2019.
During my recent holiday to Hà Nội, Vietnam, while my buddy trip was having a bowl of warm Phở, I ventured out to the famous St. Joseph’s Cathedral, located on the west side of Hoàn Kiếm Lake.
Familiarly called by the local as “The Big Church”, Saint Joseph Cathedral is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hanoi for more than 4 million Catholics in the country. It is the representative evidence of the French colonial architecture, during the expansion in its colonial empire Indochina. It was not until the Christmas Eve of 1990 that the mass was allowed to be celebrated there.
#LittlePilgrimage 32. St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Tòa Tổng Giám mục Hà Nội, 40 – Nhà Chung – Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội – Việt Nam
The exterior of this church was as high as 64,5 meters in length, 20,5 meters in width, 31,5 meters in height. The façade consists of two towers, square in shape with five bells.The twin bell towers with the resemblance to Notre Dame de Paris.The exterior walls made of granite stone slabs, yet is stained with pollution with the pass of time.
Meanwhile the interior was in Gothic style, tall windows with pointed arches. Stained glass windows were produced in France then imported to Vietnam. Typical Roman Catholic church with rib vaulted ceiling like those seen in medieval Europe. Weathered nave with shiny sanctuary made of trimmed wood. And also the statue of Virgin Mary kept in palanquin, to the left of the nave.
It was already 6PM by the time I arrived at the Cathedral and The Mass has just started. I know – the church was open for public and many of them are not Catholics. It was quite irritating and sad to see a lot of tourists hung around during the Mass with their camera shutters, video-tapping, and making noises at the back of the pews while I was sitting down quietly trying to figure out and follow the Mass ceremony that was held in Vietnamese.
For those who wants to attend English Mass, I believe they do have it every Sunday 10:30AM.
Sadly their website only in Vietnamese.
And here is the wiki for this Cathedral; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Joseph’s_Cathedral,_Hanoi