St. John's Cathedral, Hong Kong

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St. John's Cathedral, Hong Kong

St. John's Cathedral, officially The Cathedral Church of St. John the Evangelist and located at 4 Garden Road, Central, is an Anglican cathedral in Hong Kong. It is the Diocesan cathedral of the Diocese of Hong Kong Island and the focus of the Province of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (also known as Hong Kong Anglican Church). It also houses the seat of the Archbishop of Hong Kong. The Anglican cathedral is one of the five cathedrals in the city, the others being SKH Eastern Kowloon diocesan cathedral of Holy Trinity, Kowloon City, SKH Western Kowloon diocesan cathedral of All Saints, the cathedral on Arbuthnot Road of the ecumenical patriarchate of the Orthodox Metropolinate of Hong Kong and South-East Asia (i.e. the Orthodox Church), and the Roman Catholic Immaculate Conception Cathedral. St. John's Cathedral is the oldest surviving Western ecclesiastical building in Hong Kong, and the oldest Anglican church in the Far East, opening for service on Sunday, 11 March 1849. It was declared a monument in 1996. It is notable that the Cathedral is located at the centre of Powers of Hong Kong as it is surrounded by the Bank of China Tower, HSBC Building ( economic), Legislative Council Building ( legislative), Central Government Offices ( executive) and the Court of Final Appeal ( judicial).

On the morning of 8 December 1941, the day after their attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attacked Hong Kong. On Christmas morning 1941 the Reverend Alaric P. Rose took the morning service in St John's with a congregation of one hundred, whilst shelling continued on the island. During the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong, the cathedral was converted into a club for the Japanese. Many of the original fittings were stripped out, including the original stained glass windows. On the 9th September 1945, the first service after the arrival of the Royal Navy was held in the Cathedral. In 1981, Peter Kwong Kong Kit became the first Chinese Bishop of Hong Kong. St. John's Cathedral site is often described as being the only occupied freehold land in Hong Kong pursuant to s.6(1) of the Church of England Trust Ordinance (Cap.1014).

The cathedral's architectural style is a plain, unadorned adaptation of 13th century English and Decorated Gothic, which was the popular revivalist style for churches at the time. Along the north wall is a memorial tablet to Captain W.T. Bate RN, who died fighting in Canton. The bell tower of the cathedral is decorated with a large "VR" on the west face, in commemoration of the institution's founding during the reign of Queen Victoria. The north and south faces of the tower are decorated with the coats-of-arms of two former Governors of Hong Kong, Sir John Davis and George Bonham. The first pew on the south side of the interior bears the Royal Arms, as it was formerly reserved for the Governor or any member of the Royal Family visiting Hong Kong before the Handover in 1997.

War Memorial
Next to the cathedral is a large Memorial Cross, unveiled by Governor Sir Reginald Stubbs in 1921 in memory of the soldiers killed in the First World War. During the Japanese occupation the cross was reduced to a straight granite column. In 1952 it was replaced by a Celtic cross, with an inscription added to commemorate those who had died in both World Wars. The original bronze tablet with the names of the First World War dead is held inside the cathedral, in the Chapel of St. Michael. Every year ex-British Army members hold a memorial service at the Memorial Cross. Beside the Memorial Cross is a tombstone covering the remains of Pte. R.D. Maxwell, who was killed in Wan Chai three days before the ceasefire.


Clergy Position Name Archbishop of Hong Kong The Most Revd Paul Kwong Archbishop Emeritus of Hong Kong The Most Revd Peter Kwong Dean The Very Revd Andrew Chan Chaplain The Revd Desmond Cox The Revd John Chynchen The Revd Robert Martin The Revd Dwight dela Torre The Revd Mark Rogers The Revd William Newman The Revd Jenny Wong Nam The Revd Peter Douglas Koon The Revd Hugh Phillipson The Revd Canon David Pickering The Revd Nigel Gibson