St John’s Cathedral Hong Kong

St John’s Cathedral (CN: 聖約翰座堂) was built in 1849 and is still a practicing Anglican church today. It is one of the few buildings that has stood in Hong Kong through war, social and political change, modernisation and growth. It’s free to visit, see their website for service times, and there is a book shop and gift shop on site.


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Wikipedia Says


St John’s Cathedral held its first Sunday service on Sunday, 11 March 1849.

On the morning of 8 December 1941, the day after their attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attacked Hong Kong. On Christmas morning 1941 the Reverend Alaric P. Rose took the morning service in St John’s with a congregation of one hundred, while shelling continued on the island.

During the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong, the cathedral was converted into a club for the Japanese. Many of the original fittings were stripped out, including the original stained glass windows, which had been created by William Morris’ firm.

On 9 September 1945, the first service after the arrival of the Royal Navy was held in the Cathedral.
In 1981, Peter Kwong Kong Kit became the first Chinese Bishop of Hong Kong.

The site of St John’s Cathedral is the only freehold land in Hong Kong, granted in fee simple pursuant to s.6(1) of the Church of England Trust Ordinance (Cap.1014) of 1930. All other land tenure in Hong Kong is leasehold in nature.

On 5 June 2012, there was a service of thanksgiving at the Cathedral in honour of the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.


It is the oldest surviving Western ecclesiastical building in Hong Kong, and the oldest Anglican church in the Far East.

The cathedral’s architectural style is a plain, unadorned adaptation of 13th century English and Decorated Gothic, which was the popular revivalist style for churches at the time. Along the north wall is a memorial tablet to Captain William Thornton Bate RN, who died fighting in Canton. A similar tablet is found at St Anns Church in Portsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire.

The bell tower of the cathedral is decorated with a large “VR” on the west face, in commemoration of the institution’s founding during the reign of Queen Victoria. The north and south faces of the tower are decorated with the coats-of-arms of two former Governors of Hong Kong, Sir John Davis and Sir George Bonham.

There are reports that the main doors of the cathedral is made with wood planks salvaged from HMS Tamar, but according to a 2016 article published by the South China Morning Post, that is untrue.
The first pew on the south side of the interior bears the Royal Arms, as it was formerly reserved for the Governor or any member of the Royal Family visiting Hong Kong before the Handover in 1997.

It was declared a monument of Hong Kong in 1996.

War Memorial

Next to the cathedral is a large Memorial Cross, unveiled by Governor Sir Reginald Stubbs in 1921 in memory of the soldiers killed in the First World War. During the Japanese occupation the cross was reduced to a straight granite column. In 1952 it was replaced by a Celtic cross, with an inscription added to commemorate those who had died in both World Wars. The original bronze tablet with the names of the First World War dead is held inside the cathedral, in the Chapel of St Michael.

Every year ex-British Army members hold a memorial service at the Memorial Cross.

Beside the Memorial Cross is a tombstone covering the remains of Pte R.D. Maxwell, who was killed in Wan Chai three days before the ceasefire. The only grave within the cathedral precinct, it is registered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

On the North Eastern wall of the cathedral is a memorial to Captain William Thornton Bate RN, who was killed in the battle on Canton in 1857.

Source: Wikipedia


4-8 Garden Rd, Central, Hong Kong

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