Welcome to St. Ignatius Church
Kojimachi Catholic Church is centrally located in Tokyo, at Yotsuya; it is more often called St. Ignatius Church. It is an international church. On Sundays masses are celebrated in various languages for the different nationalities attending mass here.
St. Ignatius Church is named after Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, a Catholic religious order, Saint Ignatius is the patron saint of the church; he was also the first general of the Society of Jesus. Christianity was first introduced into Japan in 1549 by St Francis Xavier who had been sent by St. Ignatius.
The predecessor of the present St. Ignatius Church was “St. Therese of the Child Jesus Church” which was established as a small parish church of Tokyo in 1936. In May 1945 a massive air-raid struck Tokyo and this church burned down completely. The Kulturheim Chapel of Sophia University was temporarily used as a replacement church.
In 1947 the Archdiocese of Tokyo asked the Society of Jesus to rebuild Kojimachi Church which was then dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyola. Construction was completed and the dedication ceremony was held in 1949. Construction of the present St. Ignatius Church was completed in 1999. A bigger new church was needed because the older church had deteriorated and there had been a rapid increase in the number of parishioners.
Occupying the center of the new church building is the oval shaped main chapel. Its oval shape is like an egg symbolizing life and resurrection, the life and resurrection of Christ.
The statue affixed to the wall of the main chapel depicts Christ’s resurrection after overcoming suffering and death. Both hands are extended as a gesture of warm welcome to all who come into the church.