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Saint Cross Church

Jingliao, Taiwan
The pyramid roof is visible throughout the village of Jingliao
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The pyramid roof is visible throughout the village of Jingliao
Emily Lin

Jingliao is in the Houbi township of the Tainan County, Taiwan. The village is renowned for the Saint Cross Church. A Roman Catholic place of worship designed in the 1950s by Gottfried Boehm.

In 1955, the German priest Eric Jansen, of the Franciscan Order who was stationed in Jingliao, decided to have a Catholic church built. All the plans by Böhm were completed in Germany, and he never set foot on Taiwanese soil.

The church is impossible to miss. The spire is an alloy-covered pyramid that’s higher than – and in terms of colour quite different to – anything else in the village, which itself is surrounded by flat agricultural land. Beside the church is a dormitory and a kindergarten, all enclosed within the same compound, and interlinked.

Many Catholic churches in Taiwan resemble Taoist temples, externally at least. The design of the Saint Cross Church, however, makes no concessions to traditional Chinese religious architecture.

Despite being so recognisable in the area, the church is not widely known.

Currently there are approximately 30 locals (from a population of 2000) who attend the church regularly.