Saint Joseph's Church, Singapore

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Saint Joseph's Church
St. Joseph's Church Singapore 2008-03-21 stretched.jpg
Saint Joseph's Church as seen with many parishioners attending a Good Friday procession
Basic information
Location 143 Victoria Street, Singapore
Geographic coordinates 1°17′54″N 103°51′11″E / 1.298407°N 103.853032°E / 1.298407; 103.853032
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Rite Latin
District Archdiocese of Singapore
Architectural style Gothic Revival
Groundbreaking 1904 (Current Building)
Completed 1912 (Current Building)
Length 66.25m
Width 45m
Width (nave) 18.75m

For other uses, see Saint Joseph's (disambiguation).

The Church's central octagonal domed tower which is flanked by two smaller towers
The main entrance to the Church
Detail of a pinnacle

Saint Joseph's Church (Chinese: 圣若瑟堂) is a Roman Catholic church in Singapore. It is located along Victoria Street in the Rochor Planning Area, within the Central Area of Singapore's central business district.

The church was constructed from 1906 to 1912 with its foundation-stone laid two years earlier. The building was built in the Gothic style by the Portuguese Mission.

Saint Joseph's Church is most noted for its annual Good Friday procession, during which Christ's Passion is honoured.


The history of Saint Joseph's Church and that of its predecessor, the Church of São José, both built on the same site, is inextricably linked with the Portuguese Mission. Father Francisco da Silva Pinto e Maia of Porto, head of the Portuguese Mission, arrived from Goa in 1826 and founded the Mission in Singapore. When he died in 1850, he left his money and some land for the building of a small church. His funds were augmented by a gift from the King of Portugal and the church was called São José. It was built by the man who succeeded him, the Reverend Vincente de Santa Catarina from 1851 to 1853.

In 1906, the Church of São José was pulled down. The present Saint Joseph's Church, completed in 1912, was built on the same site by the notable firm Swan & MacLaren.

Situated in the church compound and attached to the Mission was Saint Anthony's Boys' and Girls' School. It was first opened by Father José Pedro Santa Ana da Cunha in 1879 as Saint Anna's School in a small house along Middle Road. The school moved into the church compound in 1886 and changed its name. In 1893, separate boys' and girls' schools were formed. In 1999, the Portuguese Mission handed over Saint Joseph's Church to the Archdiocese of Singapore.

Saint Joseph's Church was gazetted a national monument on 14 January 2005. From 4 September to 12 November 2006, the church was one of the exhibition venues for the Singapore Biennale, Singapore's inaugural international biennale of contemporary art.

Today the church is served by 2 priests, Father Michael Teo and Father Andre Christophe MEP, with daily masses as well as Sunday masses. However, it is not a parish church.

The church was once home to a pipe organ, built in 1888 by Forster and Andrews, but it has since been dismantled. 2 and 3 manual Allen Digital Organs were installed in 2005 and 2009 respectively. The Church also contains an outdoor shrine to Our Lady of Fatima.


Saint Joseph's Church was built in a Gothic Revival style with a portico supported by four columns. It had a low square tower and bell turret.

The plan of the church was laid in the form of a Latin cross. It contains stained-glass windows and a central octagonal tower, capped by a dome and flanked by two smaller towers.

New buildings were added to the Church in 1938, 1954 and 1956.

See also[edit]


  • National Heritage Board (2002), Singapore's 100 Historic Places, Archipelago Press, ISBN 981-4068-23-3
  • Norman Edwards, Peter Keys (1996), Singapore - A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, Times Books International, ISBN 9971-65-231-5
  • Preservation of Monuments Board, Know Our Monuments

External links[edit]