Fri, 20 Sep 2019

Ruins of Catholic church in Myanmar to be restored

By Jay Jackson, Canada News
15 Feb 2019, 09:16 GMT+10

THANLYIN, Myanmar - After 270 years of false starts, the Portuguese church in the port city Thanlyin, in Myanmar could finally be completed.

Construction on the church is understood to have started in 1749, after Italian Catholic priest Paolo Nerini, a missionary from the Barnabite Order, got permission from King Binnya Dala, who reigned from 1747 to 1757, to build a church to replace a wooden one originally built by the Portuguese.

Finance for the establishment of the church was believed to have been provided by an Armenian, Nicolai de Agualar and Margarita, his wife,  according to The Myanmar Times.

There is an inscription in Armenian referring Agualar inside the church building.

The Department of Archeology and National Museums first began work to preserve the remains of the church, with walls measuring 24 metres long, 10m wide and 12m high, in 2017, two centuries after it had been damaged in wars in the 1750s and Typhoon Nargis in 2008.

In 2016, the Catholic Church of Myanmar instituted an effort led by Bishop John Saw Yaw Han to clear the grounds of the church and have it fenced off as the ruins had become frequented by drug addicts, thne Horizon Weekly reported.

Last month, a ceremony to consecrate the land the church is located on was held inside the compound. Over 2000 Catholic devotees came together to celebrate mass in the remains of the church on 12 January.

The Department of Archeology and National Museums is also conducting proper research and excavation work on the site to learn more about its history.

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