Assumption Cathedral, Bangkok

The Assumption Cathedral (Thai: อาสนวิหารอัสสัมชัญ) is the principal Roman Catholic church of Thailand, located at 23 Oriental Avenue, New Road, in the Bang Rak district of Bangkok. It is the main church of the Archdiocese of Bangkok. It was visited by Pope John Paul II during his trip to Thailand in 1984.


Assumption Cathedral is located within 100 meters of the Oriental Hotel and the French Embassy, and the original building was the result of the request from a French missionary, Father Pascal in 1809 and the work of a French architect which saw the cathedral completed in 1821 during the reign of King Rama II. The architect designed the original Assumption Cathedral with material imported from France and Italy. The cathedral was named Assumption to honor the passage of the Virgin Mary to heaven after her death, and she is commemorated at the church during The Feast of the Assumption, on St. Mary's Day on 15 August.

Throughout the latter half of the 19th century, the church and surrounding area played an important role for Christian missionaries arriving in Bangkok, particularly after 1860. The cathedral is part of a series of buildings which consist of the Assumption Convent, Catholic Mission of Bangkok, Assumption Printing Press and rectory which were inhabited by the missionaries during their time in the city.

However around 1909 or 1910 the church underwent significant reconstruction and was rebuilt in the romanesque style between 1910 and 1918. The church has a relatively tall rectangular structure with a red brick exterior which stands out against its surrounding white buildings. The tall square towers flank the main entrance. Inside is a high ceiling adorned with many ornate decorations. Construction costs were largely covered by a local catholic businessman, Mr Low Khiok Chiang (also known as Jacobe) who owned the nearby Kiam Hoa Heng & Company, a Chinese Teochew family business.

In 1942, during World War II, nearby buildings were destroyed by bombing which resulted in serious damage to the church. It underwent extensive restoration shortly afterwards, and was partly refurbished in the 1980s and 1990s. Stained glass windows are now used in the cathedral today.

Pope John Paul II visited the church in May 1984, given that the church is the center of the Roman Catholic diocese there. The church is open seven days a week. Services for mass on Sundays are held at 6am, 7:30am, 8:30am, 10am and 5pm.


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