Phat Diem stone church located in Phat Diem town, Kim Son district, Ninh Binh province is considered a unique monument complex when harmoniously combining modern architecture from the West with the traditional architecture of the Eastern people. The essay will show you the beauty of this church.
Phat Diem Stone Church A convergence of East-West architectural style
The Phat Diem Cathedral (French: Cathédrale de Phat Diem) is located in Kim Son District of Ninh Binh Province of Vietnam. The architecture of Phat Diem church, built in stone in 1892 is a blend of Vietnamese and European architectural styles called the “eclectic architectural style”. Phat Diem Cathedral was built by the priest Father Tran Luc also called as Pere Six in French or Sau in Vietnamese. Pere Six’s tomb is in the front yard of the cathedral. The wooden statues in the cathedral were all carved by Pho Gia, a Vietnamese artisan.
The Cathedral was closed in 1954 when a division of the Vietnamese forces caused Catholics to leave; they moved to safer places in South Vietnam. Now the cathedral is functional and there are many more churches in the district.
Phat Diem Stone Church Ninh Binh-completely built by hand
The Cathedral was bombed on 1972 when its west wall, the convents and two of the schools were damaged; after restoration, there are no tell-tale marks of this bombing. Although a church, it was built with pagoda type roofs in traditional Vietnamese temple architecture.
Phat Diem Cathedral is a complex comprising of a lake, a cathedral, a stone church, Phuong Dinh (bell house) and three artificial grottoes. At first sight, visitors are easily attracted to the square lake on the main road to the cathedral. In the middle of the lake, there is a small island with a statue of Jesus Christ. Phuong Dinh easily becomes the next eye-catching monument, with stone carvings on both sides of the walls. It is 25 m high, 17m wide and 24m long with three stories. The first floor is covered by large green flagstones.
Phat Diem Church: An Art of the Best in Vietnam
The middle and upper floors house a large drum and a big bell respectively. As visitors leave Phuong Dinh, they will see a great cathedral which was built in 1891 with the official name “Nha tho Duc Me Man Coi”. The cathedral is 74 meters long, 21 meters wide and 15 meters high with four roofs. It was built of 6 rows of monolithic ironwood. Within the cathedral are four small churches of different styles. Next to the grand cathedral is a stone church with the initial name “Nha Tho Vo Nhiem Nguyen Toi Duc Me” but now people usually refer to it as” Stone church” because from its walls, pillars, ground, bars to tie beams are made of stone. The inside of the church has many sophisticatedly carved reliefs, with chrysanthemum, bamboo, fir tree and the apricot tree that symbolize four seasons in a year. Around Phat Diem Cathedral, there are a lot of beautiful stone caves and artificial mountains.
With artistic design and skillful technique, Phat Diem Cathedral is pride of many local Ninh Binh people.