A meeting of East and West
Kuroshima church is built in a beautiful Romanesque style. Many of the items within the church are of French origin, having been sent away for by Father Marmand.
There is a theory that Kuroshima church is modelled on a church which Father Marmand used to attend back in France. Whether or not this is true, it seems reasonable to assume that it was modelled on a church which he particularly loved. In 19th century Europe, Romanesque style churches were undergoing a revival, and one can clearly sense such influence in the case of Kuroshima. One particularly striking design feature is the church’s semicircular arches, which are supported by two rows of columns. In addition, because the part of the church where the central altar sits was made semicircular in shape, a semicircular-shaped brick wall was also built. This wall is visible from outside if one stands at the rear of the church, and is highly distinctive.
Such things as the bell which the island’s nuns still ring today, the church’s beautiful stained glass, its unusual wooden chandeliers, and the statue of Christ of the Sacred Heart (which is 1metre 80cm tall) are all items which Father Marmand sent for from France at the time of Kuroshima church’s foundation. A further point of interest is that until recently, they laid 169 Japanese-made tatami mats on the floor during the winter. We can imagine how this must have looked, with the church’s inner space serving as a place where East and West could silently and mysteriously encounter one another.