Wanchin Basilica at the Center of the People’s Spirits.
Wanchin Basilica is located in Wanchin Village, Wanluan Township in Pingtung County. It was constructed by Philippine priests and is the oldest cathedral in existence in Taiwan.
In 1984, Roman Catholic Pope John Paul II bestowed the basilica status (“basilica” is the highest honor for Catholic churches) on the Wanchin Church, the community and religious center for the Wanchin villagers. In the early years of missionary work in Taiwan, the missionaries were aware of the necessity to downplay religion in order to avoid developing aversion among the local people. Thus, local cultural flavors were taken into consideration during the construction of the church, and the church is a combination of both Chinese and Western cultural styles.
Wanchin Basilica after a large scale renovation in June, 1999. The external walls are coated with white lime. The basilica stands upright in Wanchin Village.
Wanchin Basilica Events
Wanchin Basilica has gone through much construction and renovation since its establishment. After the large-scale renovation in June, 1999, the appearance of the basilica has retained the early style of the traditional European Gothic Church until today. The gable carries a likeness of traditional Chinese roof ridges, with a cross erected on the top. The gable is decorated with two patterns: a crown at the top and the emblem of the Dominicans [1] at the bottom. The middle of the upper horizontal row is inlaid with a two-word stone tablet, which means “follow the decree.”The tablet was granted during the Qing dynasty and carries the meaning that permission was granted by Qing authorities to conduct missionary work. Inside the basilica, two lateral columns divide the space into the nave and the side-isles. The Western-style shrine at the altar has carvings with Oriental flavors. The sacred atmosphere of the basilica is further intensified by the surrounding stained glass windows.
Statue of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary [2]. The palanquin that carried the statue was from Spain, and is one of the important cultural relics of the Wanchin Basilica today.
[1] The Dominicans: a Catholic religious order founded in 1216. They were the first Catholic group to engage in missionary work in Taiwan. 
[2] Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Catholics believe that Jesus’ mother Mary was blessed and free of original sin from the moment of her conception and that she was filled with sanctifying grace. In 1854, the doctrine was promulgated by Pope Pius IX in his Papal bull Ineffabilis Deus. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is observed on December 8 and is one of the Catholic festivals.
Roman Catholic Diocesis of Taichung Historical Heritage Implementation Group, editor-in-chief (2010). Life Care 150: Commemorative Issue: 150 Years of the Catholic Church in Taiwan. Taipei: Chinese Regional Bishop’s Conference.
Fu Chao-Ching, principal investigator, with Yao G. C., co-principal investigator; commissioned by the Pingtung County Government;儲存 research study by Department of Architecture Graduate School, National Cheng Kung University (1996). Pingtung County’s Third-Class Historical Site: Wanchin Basilica Innovation Research Project. Tainan City: Department of Architecture Graduate School, National Cheng Kung Un