History of Kuroshima island and Kuroshima Church

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It has been 150 years since some 20 people representing 600 Christians on the island visited Father Petitjean at Oura to confess their faith on May 19, 1865.
The fact that the people who had passed down the teachings of Christ in secret for 250 years confessed their faith was called a miracle and known throughout the world.


They kept two sacraments, Baptism and Wedding, even during the period they didn’t have fathers or missionaries.
After the hidden Christians’ confession, the missionaries started preparing for ensuring the validity of the sacrament of baptism.
After teaching the baptizer how to baptize correctly and distributing such holy things as catechisms, Christian calendars, crosses and the Virgin Mary’s medals, they gave the sacrament of penance and Communion.


Faith that era was also kept alive of Kinkyo is to revival.



Anno DominiJapanese CalendarChief Events
1587Tensho 15The Christianity-banning order was issued.
Yamaguchi Jizaemon, a Christian chief retainer of Hirado Clan, moved to Kuroshima via Omura.
1857Ansei 4Fumie or stepping on holy object to find hidden Christians was abolished.
1865 / 5 / 19The Deguchi family visited Fr. Petitjean and told him Kuroshima has 600 hidden Christians.
1872Meiji 5Fr. Poirier visited Kuroshima as the first missionary.
1873Meiji 6The official bulletin board banning Christianity was removed.
Fr. Poirier visited Kuroshima 6 times in 1873.
1874-1877, Fr. Poirier visited Kuroshima twice each year.
1875 ~ 1876Meiji 8 ~ 9Fr. Chatron visited Kuroshima twice.
1878Meiji 11 endFr. Pelloux built a church in Nakiri district.
Dedicated to the sacred heart of Jesus
Kuroshima became Tsuyoshi Village Kuroshima by a new law.
1880Meiji 13The convent ‘Kuroshima Aikukai’ was established by Fr. Pelloux.
1880 / 6,8,11Fr. Sole visited Kuroshima.
1880 / 7,8Fr. Pouteau visited Kuroshima.
1880 / 11Fr. Beaune visited Kuroshima.
Moving to Kozaki started.
1881 / 9Meiji 14Fr. Ferrier visited Kuroshima.
1882 / 10Fr. Cole visited Kuroshima.
1882 ~ 1897Fr. Matara (Fr. Raquet’s assistant) trained missionaries in the Clergy house till 1897.
Fr. Matara became in charge of the Hirado parish after Fr. Raguet moved out.
1883 ~ 1887Fr. Raguet went the rounds of Kuroshima.
1885Meiji 18Kuroshima became Kitamatsuura-gun Kuroshima village.
1886Meiji 19Fr. Raguet purchased a ha of land in Tabira and had two families move there from Kuroshima.
1887Meiji 20Fr. De Rotz purchased a ha of land in Omura.
Also some moved there from Kuroshima until 1939.
1889 ~ 1900Fr. Lemarie went the rounds of Kuroshima.
1894 ~ 1895Fr. Bertrand went the rounds of Kuroshima.
1895 ~ 1897Fr. Ariyasu (Fr. Matara’s assistant), Fr. Iwanaga Shinpei, Fr. Hamasaki, Fr. Iwanaga Shozo, and Fr. Ferrand went the rounds of Kuroshima.
1987 ~ 1912After Fr. Marman, Pastors and Assistants stationed on Kuroshima.
1900 / 6Meiji 33The old church was demolished.
Site preparation and ground breaking.
1900 ~ 1909Fr. Breton stationed as Pastor.
Fr. Marman devoted himself to the church construction.
1901 / 10Meiji 34The construction was stopped before ceiling covering.
1902 / 6Meiji 35The new church was blessed by Bishop Cousin.
The church is presumed to have been completed this year according to the baptism record.
1903 ~ 1941The Angelus church bell was donated by Mr. Fargniers and his son of Dijon City in France to Kuroshima Church.
Fr. Cotterell, working with Fr. Marman, participated in the World War I in 1914.
1906Meiji 39Kurokami Church was registered on the land ledger.
1910Meiji 43On Aug 14, the superstition incident occurred.
11 name incident and reconciliation was a Buddhist in the opportunity is incoming to Catholicism.
Kotoreru baptized than Father.
1914 ~ 1919Fr. Breton covered Mawatari Island and Kuroshima Island.
1926 / 8 ~ 1926 / 10Fr. Boncards stationed as Pastor.
1926 ~ 1927Taisho 15 ~ Showa 2Fr. Vion stationed as Pastor.
1927 ~ 1931Fr. Yamaguchi Takusuke stationed as Assistant.
1931 ~ 1947Fr. Aoki Yoshio stationed as Pastor.
1939Showa 14Fr. Hatada Zensuke arrived as Assistant.
1940 ~ 1942Fr. Imamura Tomeichi stationed as Assistant.
1942 ~ 1945Fr. Tamaya Fusakichi stationed as Assistant.
1946 ~ 1947Fr. Watanabe Hijiri stationed as Assistant.
1947 ~ 1963Fr. Tagawa Isematsu stationed as Pastor.
1952Showa 27The Kuroshima Church 50th anniversary eucharistic procession was held with Bishop Yamaguchi.
1954 / 4 / 1Showa 29Kuroshima was incorporated into Sasebo City and became Kuroshima Cho.
1956 / 12 / 25Showa 31A memorial was built at the place where the first mass in Kuroshima was held.
1963 ~ 1983Fr. Imamura Etsuo stationed as Pastor.
1970The Clergy house was completed.
It was blessed by Archbishop Satowaki.
1981 ~ 1983Showa 56 ~ 58Fr. Iwamura Tomohiko stationed as Assistant.
Pope John Paul II visited Nagasaki (Feb 25, 1981).
1982 ~ 1983Repair works for church.
Such as roof, floor, etc..
1983 ~Fr. Tanaka Chiyokichi arrived as Pastor.
1987 / 12 / 17The Parish Hall was completed.
It was blessed by Cardinal Satowaki.
1987 ~ 1988The bell tower was damaged by a typhoon in 1987 and its spire and cross were replaced.
1988Showa 63The church parking lot was completed.

Hidden Christians’ lives during the suppression

Pretending to be Buddhists, they kept their Christian faith and handed it down secretly.


Secret Organizations

The missionaries who foresaw the hard time for Christians would come taught their believers how to survive.
Based on the groups which had been formed before the suppression, some secret hidden Christians’ organizations were formed.
These groups were led by three major roles.


Chokata : A man who is initiated into the method of deciding holy days every year. The calendar, called ‘Ocho’ or ‘Hikuri’ , was the foundation for a religious life.

Mizukata (baptizer) :One in each village, the top of the organization and a hereditary post.

Kikiyaku (baptizer’s assistant): Literally means a listener and the role to help the baptizer give a correct prayer during a baptism.

In addition, In Nagasaki, the role was also called ‘Fureyaku’ (messenger) because he or she secretly visited fellow Christians and informed them of the holy days in the week.
By using these control systems, hidden Christians could hand down their faith for 250 years without fathers.


Underground Religious Rites

Since it was hard to keep the Christian faith undetected even after secret groups had been formed.
Therefore Hidden Christians came up with various ideas.
As they pretended to be Buddhists, they all had to register with temples and follow Buddhist traditions. Funeral services also had to be administered according to Buddhist rites.
However, after a Buddhist priest left, the Christian prayers for the deceased were offered.
In addition, they had to put Buddhist and Shinto altars, Buddhist images and their ancestors’ mortuary tablets at home, but they worshipped them as the images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.
Such as Maria Kannon (Kannon) it is, is one of them.
They continued to practice Christianity in secret.


Your production waiting (your's town) ... Christmas Eve
Your birth (Gotanjo) ...... Christmas
Of sadness enters ...... Ash Wednesday
- This day enter into Lent from -
Flowers (flowers) ... branch of the Lord's Day
Up like (up customers) ...... Easter
Forty days like ...... Ascension Day
Day 10-like (Sookame clients) ... Pentecost
-
We gave (you Sazuke) ...... baptism
Feast (feast) ... Eucharist
Sacred sake (sacred sake) ...... wine
Sashimi (raw fish) ...... bread