The diverse population of Singapore is made up of various different ethnic groups, with people identifying as belonging to several different religions. Around 18% of the population identifies as being Christian, with different denominations represented. These include Catholic, Methodist, Adventist, and Protestant. There are, therefore, a lot of churches around Singapore. Some of the most outstanding include:
The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
This lovely cathedral is the main religious building of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore and also the seat of its Archbishop. It is one of the country’s most significant Christian churches. Built between 1843 and 1847, it is also the oldest surviving Catholic Church in all of Singapore. The history of the Catholic Church in Singapore began soon after Singapore was established as a British trading port in 1819 … European Catholics arrived on the island, bringing their ideas and beliefs with them. In the early 1840s, a dynamic French priest called Father Jean-Marie Beurel managed to convince the government to provide the Catholic mission with a plot of land in order to build a proper church for worship.
Church of Our Lady of Lourdes
This was the first Tamil Catholic Church in Singapore. The parish priest of the church was not only conversant in Chinese dialects, but also in Tamil. He was therefore able to extend his ministry to the Tamil Indians, hence the name of the Tamil Catholic Church. It is an impressive neo-Gothic building of good proportions and fine details and is said to have been modelled after a religious building in the town of Lourdes (in France). Whilst the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes remains a focal point for Tamils in Singapore, the welcoming atmosphere has also led to the present day congregation consisting of members from different ethnicities too.
The Armenian Church
One of the oldest Christian churches in Singapore is an architectural masterpiece from the early 19th century … the splendid Armenian Church. It became a national monument in 1973 and was later restored in 1994. Although a small church, it was highly significant to the once-influential Armenian community in Singapore. The last Armenian parish priest left in the late 1930s and another was never appointed. It is a popular sight for tourists.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
A fairly unusual and unexpected church, especially in a country like Singapore that is often seen as being pretty strict, this church is dedicated to the Mormon faith. Despite being ostracized in many other countries, it was able to find a foothold in Singapore. Government officials had restricted preaching and visas for missionaries, but local members persisted and the Singapore Mission was eventually created in 1974.
Officially known as The Church of Saint Alphonsus, it is commonly referred to as Novena Church. It is a Catholic church. The name “Novena” refers to the novena prayer devotion – this church is particularly famous for this type of worship. It is such a popular church that it regularly draws devotees from all faiths and backgrounds in incredibly large numbers.
Whether you are looking for a place to take part in religious services and ceremonies or whether you enjoy religious art and architecture, Singapore is certainly not short of beautiful churches.