About Our Cathedral


Under the guidance of Fr Pascal, a French missionary, the land was bought in 1809 for a cathedral in the still newly established capital of the Kingdom, Bangkok.  Under Bishop Florens and according to the wishes of the donor, the new cathedral was built and named in honor of the Assumption of Mary, being consecrated in 1822.  This new cathedral became the seat of the Bishop of Siam and the center of Catholic administration in the country. 

As the Catholic community grew, the cathedral was expanded.  In time, it was recognized that reconstruction was needed and so this began in 1909, being completed in 1919. The present building is designed in French Gothic Romanesque style, apparently being inspired by the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba in Spain.  If one compares the front of our cathedral with that of Notre Dame in Paris, the similarities can be seen between these two classic structures.  Reconstruction was largely funded by a local Catholic businessman named Jacob Low Khiok Chiang, the owner of the then nearby Kiam Hoa Heng and Company. 

(Reference – Pax Hominibus – A History of the Mission of Siam and Laos – Bangkok, 2019)

2019 saw the present cathedral turning 100.  This church stands as a living testimony to Fr Emile Colombet, a French missionary priest for over 50 years in Siam and long term pastor at Assumption.  In the early 1900s, he faced the dual challenge of a growing Catholic community and an inadequate church building with the vision of a grand, new church.  So, despite all odds, his vision became a reality thanks to his commitment, guidance and supervision.  He was a truly great pastor.

This splendid church is more than brick and marble.  As Colombet foresaw, it is the enduring symbol of the living faith community which over time has built it, made it what it is today and continues to worship in its confines.  Today, this cathedral offers a most beautiful worship space which has been given for building up the faith of the faithful, past, present and future, becoming part of who we are. 

John P Murray osa

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