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NOTRE-DAME CATHEDRAL



The last church was too small. Thus, in 1863, Admiral Bonard decided to build a wooden church on the bank of Charner canal (Kinh Lớn). Lefevre put the first stone for construction of the church on 28 March 1863. The construction was completed two years later and was called "Saigon Church". When the wooden church was damaged by termites, all church services were held in the guest-chamber of the French Governor's Palace. This palace would later be turned into a seminary until the Notre-Dame Cathedral was completed.

After the design competition, bids were accepted for construction. Again, J. Bourard was the successful bidder and became supervisor of constructions. Originally, there were three proposed sites for construction: • On the site of the former test school (today, this is at the corner of Le Duan Boulevard and Hai Ba Trung Street). • At Kinh Lon (today it is Nguyễn Huệ Boulevard) • At the present site where the cathedral is situated

All building materials were imported from France. The outside wall of the cathedral was built with bricks from Toulouse. Although the contractor did not use coated concrete, these bricks have retained their bright red color until today. On 7 October 1877, Bishop Isidore Colombert laid the first stone in an inaugural ceremony. The construction of the cathedral took three years. On Easter Day, 11 April 1880, a blessing ceremony and ceremony of completion were solemnly organized in presence of the Governor of Cochinchina Charles Le Myre de Vilers. One can see the granite plate inside the main entry gate commemorating the start and completion dates and designer. The total cost was 2,500,000 French francs (at that time price). At the beginning, the cathedral was called State Cathedral due to the source of the construction funds.

In 1959, Bishop Joseph Pham Van Thien, whose jurisdiction included Saigon parish, attended the Marian Congress held in Vatican and ordered a statue of Our Lady of Peace made with granite in Rome. When the statue arrived in Saigon on 16 February 1959, Bishop Pham Van Thien held a ceremony to install the statue on the empty base and presented the title of "Regina Pacis". It was the same bishop who wrote the prayers "Notre-Dame bless the peace to Vietnam". The next day, Cardinal Agagianian came from Rome to chair the closing ceremony of the Marian Congress and solemnly chaired the ceremony for the statue, thus the cathedral was then-on called Notre-Dame Cathedral.




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