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Tibet’s only Catholic church
update:June 21,2018
By:China Tibet Online
June 21,2018--In Yanjing Village in Chamdo City, Tibet Autonomous Region, Catholic followers and Tibetan Buddhist believers intermarry and live in harmony with one another.
The Yanjing Catholic Church was built by French missionaries in the year 1865, and it is the only Catholic church in Tibet. About 80 percent of villagers in Yanjing Village are Catholic.
Lu Rendi is a local Tibetan villager, whose name is derived from a Hebrew name. In 1992, Lu Rendi went to the Beijing Seminary of Catholic Church for study, returning to Yanjing Village after his graduation.
He was once the only Tibetan priest in Tibet.
According to him, before the founding of New China, there were 17 foreign missionaries here at the Yanjing Catholic Church. The church was originally a civil structure. In 1985, with support from government funds, the church was rebuilt, and it was restored again in 2002.
The church includes a main worship area, bell tower, and activity area. Its architecture integrates Chinese and Western styles and embodies Tibetan characteristics.
Lu Rendi said that since his return to secular life, there haven't been any clergymen in the village, so he still presides over the daily religious activities. During important events, the village will invite a priest from places like Yunnan or Sichuan.
Regular church activities include worship services on Fridays and Sundays, singing hymns, giving sermons, and using holy water. On Christmas, Easter, the Festival of Notre Dame, and Holy Festival, the church will hold larger religious events.
During religious events, Tibetan language is used, and there are fixed Tibetan terms that have consistently been used.
As for wedding and funeral rituals, it mainly depends on the beliefs of individual families and will also respect personal wishes.
67-year-old Tashi Wangdul and his wife Maren are Buddhist and Catholic.
Maren can recite Tibetan scriptures from the Hail Mary, and their son, Francis, is also a Catholic. His wife, Yeshe Lhamo, is a Buddhist. Each member of the family maintains their own religious belief, which can also be seen in the furniture in their home. In a niche for religious statues, there are statues of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and Sakyamuni Buddha.
Families like Tashi Wangdul, with followers of both religions living harmoniously, can be found all over the village.
And for the family of villager Budor, not only are there followers of two religions, there is also an atheist. Budor himself is a member of the Communist Party of China, and is an atheist. His wife, son, and grandson are all Catholics, and his daughter-in-law is a Buddhist.
As Francis, Tashi Wangdul's son, said, "the reason why we can maintain such a harmonious atmosphere, firstly is contributed to the Party and the state's good ethnic and religious policies. We have the freedom to believe in certain religion, as well as other religions. We are also free to be non-religious."

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