01 The TripPacker's Review
Santa Cruz Church: One of two remaining influences of Portuguese culture
The Church of the Holy Cross, or better known as Santa Cruz Church, is one of many old Catholic churches in Bangkok. It was built in 1770 during the reign of King Taksin (1867 – 1782). The church is a legacy of Thai-Portuguese relations that dates back to the 16th century. Cruise along the Chao Phraya River and you will notice this prominent landmark nestled along the river bank. The church’s reddish dome is a sight hard to miss.
If you can, make your way to the church on the 14th of September. The 14th of September is of religious significance to the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. On this day in 336 AD, St. Helena, mother of Roman Emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor, made a miraculous discovery of the Holy Cross during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The day has been designated the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross. For this reason, the church was named Santa Cruz (Holy Cross). Special preparations are made inside the church.
Over the next 146 years, the church had to be rebuilt twice. The first renovation was in 1835; Cardinal Pallegoix built a second wooden church to replace the first. The church had a rather Chinese design and so the locals nicknamed the church “Kudeejeen” meaning Chinese church. It is for this reason that the community around the church is known as Kudeejeen.
- Please dress appropriately.
- There is a photography fee (approx. 300 Baht or more). The fee goes towards renovating the church.
- For more information, email or call the church.
Santa Cruz Church is sometimes referred to as Wat Kudeejeen. The second renovation took place in 1916, during the reign of King Rama VI (1910 – 1925). Italian architects Annibale Rigotti and MarioTamagno were in charge of redesigning the Church. The present version of Santa Cruz Church is the result of their work.
Inside the cream colored church, the sidewalls are decorated with stained glass etched with biblical images. The interior design and architecture is of renaissance and neo-classical style. Outside in the courtyard, you will find a crucifix in one corner and a statue of Mary within a garden in another. Towards the rear of the church is a small cemetery with tombstones in marble. The graves belong to former pastors of the church. Completely at the back of the church reside the
statues of Mary and Joseph.
Like the early Catholic churches in Thailand, Santa Cruz Church continues to play a major role in education. Two schools were built around the church; Santa Cruz Suksa School and Santa Cruz Convent. The well-kept church grounds are quiet most of the time. The church and khanom kudeejeen are all that remains of Portuguese influence in Soi Kudeejeen today.
02 General Info + How to go
Santa Cruz Church
112, Soi Kudeejeen, Tetsaban Sai 1 Rd., Wat Kanlaya Sub-district,
Thonburi District, Bangkok, 10600
|GPS||:||N13 44 21.18, E100 29 37.98|
Mass available on Monday – Saturday at 06.00 and 19.00.
Sunday Mass is at 06.00, 08.30, and 19.00.
Mass on the first Friday of the month is at 08.00 and 19.00.
Special occasions mass is at 19.00.
|Highlight||:||Church Interior and Exterior|
How to get there
The most convenient and enjoyable method of getting to Kudeejeen Community is via boat on the Chao Phraya River. Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin Station then take the boat on Sathon Pier to Wat Kanlayaninit Pier. Alternatively, you can get off at Pak Klong Talad Market Pier and take the ferry across the river.