Cha Tam Church (officially known as the Church of St. Francisco Javier) is an old church built in 1900 and completed in 1902. Many people said that this was the only church in the city decorated like Chinese temples’s style.
Looking the Chinese Vietnamese Christians had no places to pray, Admiral Lagrandière who was then the Governor of South Vietnam, ordered the Department of Public Works to use the public money to build a church.
With the support of the government, the Bishop Despierre sent Priest Pierre d ‘Assou (or Cha Tam in Vietnamese) bough a small piece of large land. The land has area of 3 hectares and is located on Tran Hung Dao street, near Le Chau Assembly hall, in Blacksmith village, Cholon center.
On the third of December 1900, the celebration day of Saint Francisco Javier, Bishop Saigon region named Mossard came to carry out the ceremony putting the first stone. Therefore the temple was named after the Santa’s. After two years, on the tenth of January 1902 the opening celebration was carried out solemnly.
However, because Priest Pierre d’ Assou was the person who controled building the church and was also the first Vicar, so people usually called the church Cha Tam Church.
After that, Cha Tam also controled building a school, an orphanage, some flats for rainting. In 1934, Cha Tam passed away and was buried right beside the wall, near the gate of the church. In 1990, the church bell tower was fixed and the Christ altar was renewed.
Generally the church has Gothique design, the same as European church’s, but it still has the Chinese culture style. The name of the church is written in Chinese scripts. The roof is covered with ying and yang tiles. Two side of the ross has two carps. The tops of the church is put lotuses. Two scripts lines on two sides of the gate are written in Chinese scrips. The four pillars in the main worship place is painted red color, which doesn’t have in the christian churches. The Place hanging Christ Jesus’ picture has 2 script lines written in Chinese scripts.
Hidden story at Cha Tam church
On the first of November 1963, the military overthrow broke out, president Ngo Dinh Diem and his younger brother Ngo Dinh Nhu – adviser of Repuplic of Viet Nam regime in South Viet Nam came and stayed at a house of a Chinese Vietnamese named Ma Tuyen in Cho Lon area.
Next morning, on the second of November 1963, the two men came to the church to pray before giving themselves to overthrow side. However both of them were killed by an officer of the overthrow force just on his way convoying from Cha Tam church to the General staft.
Address: 25 Hoc Lac, District 5, HCMC.
Main gate of Cha Tam Church on Hoc Lac Street, name of the church is written in
Pastel-yellow and white, slender church Cha Tam Church
Located in the garden of Cha Tam church, the Maria is worshiped in a Chinese style house
Old houses in the area of Cha Tam church
Old houses in the area of Cha Tam
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