February 14, 2017 marks the dedication of the Singapore Cathedral, which the faithful of the archdiocese refer to as the "Mother Church". From then on there will be twelve days of celebration which will be joined by all the churches in the area.
ORIGINS OF THE CATHEDRAL
Good Shepherd Cathedral is the oldest Catholic church in Singapore. Its origins date back to 1832, the year in which the missionaries of the Société des Missions étrangères de Paris founded what was, at that time, a modest wooden chapel.
As the years went by, it became necessary to enlarge the size of the church to accommodate the parishioners, so in 1843 Denis Lesley was commissioned to build a new building. In 1847 the new church was opened for worship with the structure it preserves today.
The dedication of the Church to the Good Shepherd has its origin in Saint Laurent Imbertthe first Catholic missionary to arrive in Singapore and celebrate Mass on the island. During a period of cruel persecution of Christians by the Korean authorities he wrote to his companions a letter saying "In extremis bonus pastor dam vitam pro ovibus" (In circumstances of danger the Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep) inviting them to protect with their lives the converts who followed them. In 1839 he was beheaded and the story of his martyrdom reached Singapore at the time when the dedication of the new church was being decided. Today the Cathedral preserves the relics of this saint and martyr.
The building was inspired by two London churches: Saint Paul's, Covent Garden y Saint Martin-in-the-Fields. The neoclassical façade stands out for its large porticoes and prominent bell tower. Inside the church there is also the oldest pipe organ in the country, manufactured by Bevington & Son.
In 1973 the temple was declared national monumentThe cathedral was used as an emergency hospital during the Second World War, when it was used as an emergency hospital for hundreds of people wounded during the conflict.
RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH
The Cathedral began to deteriorate in 2000. The foundations were suffering from the passage of a nearby subway tunnel and from the effect of construction work on an adjoining plot of land. In 2006, an imminent repair of the building was decided, although it was necessary to wait a few more years. Finally, in April 2016, work began on the comprehensive restoration of the building, in which the following works were carried out Talleres de Arte Granda has taken part in this task of restoring the Cathedral, once again, to its splendor.
The project for the repair and restoration of the Good Shepherd Cathedral in Singapore (link) (Good Shepherd Cathedral) has been carried out respecting the style and characteristics of the building, of neoclassical style, which is distinguished by the purity of its architectural lines, clean and symmetrical, by the presence of columns and by the light color tones of the walls and ceiling and the facade, which ornament the space and give it a great luminosity.
In the presbytery, there are three robust elements made of carrara marble: the altar, the ambo and the tabernacle:
The main altar is located in the center of the celebration space. It has along its entire edge, a golden molding, a sign of the dignity of the place where the Eucharist is celebrated, and on its front a circular relief representing the paschal lamb with the banner of victory.
The amboIt also has a golden edge, which, in this case, shows the importance of the place from which the word is preached and is ornamented with another relief on the front representing the Good Shepherd.
El Sagrario is placed on a pedestal adorned on its front with a lily, symbol of the purity of the Virgin, and is located at the foot of the crucified Christ that presides over the church on a mosaic background. The spherical character of its dome makes it stand out from the rest of the elements, as does the golden color of the dome. Golden like the door, which represents the scene of the resurrection. In the interior of the tabernacle there is, in turn, the image of the good shepherd surrounded by his sheep.
On both sides of the tabernacle, next to two attached white columns, we find two angels in adoration made of resin and with a finish similar to carrara marble. The first, by its position, shows that it has already received the word and the second is ready to receive it.
Many wooden elements have also been used for this project. Iroko, a tropical wood, was chosen for its extraordinary resistance to humidity and xylophagous attack, which is very common in Singapore.
On the one hand, the main office for the bishop and on the other, the auxiliary locations The acolytes, all of them carved in iroko and upholstered with Singapore fabrics. The following have also been made two lecterns located at the sides of the presbytery and a balustrade with balusters and a wooden shelf and marble support, with the function of a communion rail.
For the presbytery area, six table candlesticks and seven standing candlesticks have been made to illuminate the altar during worship, and for the twelve dedication crosses that already existed in the church, twelve dedication lamps.
Finally, work has been carried out on the restoration of the Baptismal font bowl and the manufacture of a gilded metal cover for it.