Saigon church resting place of last emperor’s in-laws

By Quynh Tran   July 26, 2019 | 11:25 am GMT+7

The Huyen Sy Church, built by the grandfather-in-law of Vietnam’s last emperor, is also where his grandparents-in-law are buried.

Saigon church resting place of last emperor’s in-laws

The church is located at the intersection of Ton That Tung and Nguyen Trai streets in District 1, HCMC. It is said that one seventh of Le Phat Dat’s massive fortune was spent on building it.

Dat or Huyen Sy (1841-1900), grandfather of Vietnam’s last empress, Nam Phuong, was one of the richest men in French Cochinchina in the late 19th century. Nam Phuong is the wife of Nguyen Phuc Vinh Thuy aka King Bao Dai (reining 1926 to 1945), the last emperor of Vietnam.

Construction of the church started in 1902 and was completed three years later.

Saigon church resting place of last emperor’s in-laws - 1

The Gothic church has a 57 m tall bell tower. Hanging inside the roof of the tower are four bells made in France in 1905. The building material is mainly local marble.

Saigon church resting place of last emperor’s in-laws - 2

The church covers an area of more than 700 square meters. Inside it has a typical layout of seats for the faithful on either side of an aisle and an ornate altar plus a statue of Jesus on the wall.

Saigon church resting place of last emperor’s in-laws - 3

The stained glass pieces used in decorating the church were purchased from Italy. Apart from colorful patterns, they also carry pictures of characters from the Bible.

Saigon church resting place of last emperor’s in-laws - 4

The church has many statues of Jesus and local saints.

Saigon church resting place of last emperor’s in-laws - 5

Below a mural of Christ bearing the cross, surrounded by both followers and oppressors, are the tombs of Huyen Sy, who died in 1900, and his wife, who passed away in 1920. It was only after the wife’s passing that they were interred together in the church.

Their marble coffins carry their elaborately carved statues – dressed in the Vietnamese traditional dress, ao dai, their heads on two pillows and hands clasped together in prayer on their chests.

Saigon church resting place of last emperor’s in-laws - 6

Next to the coffin is a bust of Huyen Sy. There are similar busts of his wife and children.

Saigon church resting place of last emperor’s in-laws - 7

The wife’s statue atop her tomb in the church.

Saigon church resting place of last emperor’s in-laws - 8

The church’s courtyard attracts a lot of pigeons.

 
 
go to top