Candidates for a world heritage
Kuroshima-machi 3333, Sasebo-shi, 〒857-3271.
Kuroshima is an island located southeast of Hirado, off the coast of Sasebo. Many people came and settled here in the 18th century.
When the ban on Christianity was lifted in Japan, all of Kuroshima’s Hidden Christians chose to formally rejoin the Catholic Church. In 1880, Kuroshima’s first ever church was built in the same spot as the present church currently stands.
In 1897, Father Marmand was appointed pastor at Kuroshima. He took responsibility for designing the present church and managing the whole construction process, as well as for providing practical instruction to his flock, who were devotedly assisting him. By their strenuous efforts, the present church was built.
At the front of the church there is a multilayered roof with a bell tower. Its outer walls are made of brick. The interior has three isles, with an arcade, triforium, and clerestory nave. Porcelain tiles from Japan’s Arita region have been laid on the floor around the altar. The floor is a normal wooden floor, although until recently they laid tatami mats on the floor during the winter.
Kuroshima church is one example of a church built on a remote island in a village where Hidden Christians lived prior to their return to the Catholic Church in the nineteenth century. It is also a representative example of a large-scale brick church built under the guidance of a French missionary priest.