St. Francis Xavier Church in Shanghai

St. Francis Xavier Church

The St. Francis Xavier Church (圣弗朗西斯泽维尔), also called the Cathedral of St Francis Xavier at Tong-ka-du or Dongjiadu Cathedral (董家渡天主堂), is a Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral in Dongjiadu (Tong-ka-du), Shanghai, China.

Why is St. Francis Xavier Church So Special

Built in early Spanish baroque style in 1853, the gorgeous St Francis Xavier Church, better known as Dongjiadu Lu Church is the first foreign built church in Shanghai. It is also the oldest and the best preserved (four of the church bells are originals). The church holds services regularly in Chinese and English. English Mass is on Saturdays at 5 pm and Sundays at 11 am, and they even hold Mass in Spanish on Sundays. UPDATE: Due to heavy construction in the area, all international masses have been suspended. 

Introduction of St. Francis Xavier Church


The first Catholic church in China (Church of the Saviour) was built in 1553 within the Old City of Shanghai, but was confiscated with the suppression of Catholicism in 1731, and converted into a shrine to Guan Yu and a school. 

In 1847, Fr. Ludovico Maria (die Conti) Besi, an Italian Jesuit and the Apostolic Administrator of Nanjing, decided to build a church and residence at Tong-ka-du. The Cathedral was to be constructed in the baroque style, with a design recalling Sant’Ignazio Church, Rome. Construction started in 1849 and it wasn’t completed until 1853, when it was officially opened on Pentecost and dedicated to Fr. 

The church was the seat of the vicar apostolic of Kiang-nan. From 1946, when Shanghai was raised to a diocese, until 1960, the Cathedral of St Francis Xavier was the seat of the bishop of Shanghai.

Dongjiadu Cathedral was shut in 1966 at the start of the Cultural Revolution, and became a factory warehouse. In 1982, mass was resumed in a portion of the church returned to the diocese, and 1984 most of the main church was returned. The remainder of the church was returned and restored in 2005.


It is located near the waterfront between the Old City of Shanghai and The Bund, on Dongjiadu Road. In 2018 the church is surrounded by a large construction site and it’s closed.

Useful Travel Tips

  • Keep quiet when you walk into the church.
  • Please don’t make noise and smoke in church.
  • Please don’t answer the phone in the church, please turn the phone to silence.
  • Take pictures with permission from staff in the church.

How to Get to 

  • Subway:   Xiaonanmen (Line 9),  Nanpu Bridge (Line 4)
  • Bus:    
    South Line, the first line of the bridge, in the “sea tide road” stop – 64 , 43 , 955 , 781
    Dong Jiadu Road stop – 801 , 868 , 910 , 928 , 576 , 736 , 581

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