ounded in 1728, St. Joseph’s Seminary is one of Macao’s historical treasures. Indeed, the church has been holding continuous Christian services longer than any other church in greater China. Now visitors can view “Treasure of Sacred Art of St. Joseph’s Seminary,” an exhibition of its many treasures. Three years in the making, this permanent exhibition opened in early October 2016 and fills nine rooms over two floors with paintings, sculptures, religious vestments, vessels used in church services, books and documents. “This is the history of the Catholic church and the history of Macao,” says Lilian Chan, researcher at the Museum of Macau and one of the organisers of the exhibition. “Our responsibility is to preserve these artistic pieces. The seminary is a very special place, and this exhibition tells the people of Macao and its visitors about its historical and cultural significance. The seminary and the priests who worked here have
VIRGIN MARY AND JESUS CHRIST
made an enormous contribution to Macao in terms of education, music, charity, printing, research, art and marine navigation. It has educated many outstanding members of the Catholic clergy over the last three centuries.”
A DRAMATIC HISTORY OF WESTERN INFLUENCE IN THE FAR EAST
Founded in 1728 by Jesuit missionaries, St. Joseph’s Seminary was only the second religious entity to be established in Macao, following in the footsteps of St. Paul’s College. The seminary’s aim was to educate missionaries for the evangelisation of China. The adjoining St. Joseph’s Church was built in 1758 on an adjacent site. The Society of Jesus, founded 1534 in Paris by Ignatius of Loyola and six companions, was officially approved by the Vatican in 1540. It was a pioneer in bringing the Christian religion and Western learning to China.