VietnamActivities & AttractionsHuyen Sy Church in Ho Chi Minh City

Huyen Sy Church in Ho Chi Minh City

More than a hundred years after its establishment, Huyen Sy Church (also called Cho Dui Church) is still considered one of the best attractions in Ho Chi Minh City that you should visit once. Named after the founder of the church, Huyen Sy Church has occasionally been a nostalgic landmark to many people in Ho Chi Minh City because of its grand appearance and fascinating story behind it.

How to Get to Huyen Sy Church

Address: 1 Ton That Tung, District 1

Sitting on the corner of Nguyen Trai Street and Ton That Tung Street, Huyen Sy Church always receives a large number of visitors, including locals and tourists. Being near the central district, Huyen Sy Church is only about a 10-minute walk from Ben Thanh Market.

Huyen Sy Church’s Mass Schedule

Mon-Sat: 5 AM and 5:30 PM
Sun: 5 AM – 6:30 AM – 8 AM – 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM – 6 PM – 7:30 PM

Huyen Sy Church is open at any time from the first mass schedule to the last one. Even if you are not a Catholic, you can still join the followers and other visitors and admire the magnificent architecture outside the church.

The History of Huyen Sy Church’s Founder and Huyen Sy Church

About Huyen Sy Church’s Founder – Philippe Huyen Sy

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Huyen Sy’s original name was Le Nhat Sy, also known as Le Phat Dat. He was one of the wealthiest men in the South of Vietnam in the 20th century. People in Saigon (the name of Ho Chi Minh City at the time) usually used a phrase to remember the name of the four richest men in order of their wealth: “First Sy, Second Phuong, Third Xuong, and Fourth Hoa.” His granddaughter was also a famous figure in Vietnam history, Marie-Theresa Nguyen Huu Thi Lan, or Queen Consort Nam Phuong, the first and primary wife of King Bao Dai (the last emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty).

Although being well-known as a prosperous man, he was born in a poor family from Tan An, Long An Province, who later immigrated to Saigon. He made his living mainly by paddling small boats to support his family. He was then fortunately adopted by a pastor as a godchild and moved to Penang, Malaysia to study the priesthood. And as a result, he was fluent in French, Mandarin, Latin and Chu Quoc Ngu (Romanised Vietnamese).

After finishing his course, he returned to Saigon and worked as an interpreter for the French authorities. Thanks to their linguistic competence, he gradually got some promotions, and eventually, in 1880, he became a member of the Cochinchina Colonial Council, which gave him the capacity to acquire large tracts of land from which he made his fortune later. He had many children who then inherited his possession and continued funding for Catholicism in Saigon.

About Huyen Sy Church Establishment

Joined by his wife, Huyen Sy spent a large fortune to fund agriculture and preaching activities by constructing many churches in Saigon. He contributed the land and donated one-seventh of his prosperity to build the church.

Designed by Father Charles Boutier, who had previously designed many churches in Saigon, Huyen Sy Church began construction in 1902 and finished in 1905 after Huyen Sy passed away in 1900. It was named after him as a way of paying him respect. Besides Huyen Sy Church, Huyen Sy also gave great financial support to construct Chi Hoa Church and Thu Duc Church. His son later funded the building of Hanh Thong Tay Church.

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After his wife died in 1920, Huyen Sy was reburied alongside his wife in the axial memorial chapel behind the chancel. Lifesize portraits of Huyen Sy and his wife were caved meticulously from the finest marble and placed in their cemeteries. There are also busts of Huyen Sy and his wife on two sides of the church made by plaster.

Huyen Sy Church’s Architecture

The Outside of Huyen Sy Church

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Huyen Sy Church, with its large and breezy space surrounded by many trees, will definitely bring you a pleasant feeling. From the main entrance, you can easily spot a statue standing in front of the cathedral. This statue is of St. Matthew Le Van Gam, who was a priest who was beheaded in the Cho Dui area for his action against the order from the Nguyen Dynasty that expelled a fellow priest to Singapore.

There is also an area outside to honor Our Lady of Lourdes, which was built in 1960 for people to come and pray for health. Many flowers and incense are left here to show appreciation to Our Lady. In 1905, the 57-meter-tall bell tower with four bells made in France was delivered to Huyen Sy Church.

The Inside of Huyen Sy Church

The Huyen Sy Church building and the main poles were made of Bien Hoa marble, matching the Gothic architecture. The walls are decorated with many colorful stained glass panels from Italy. There are also many Saint statues inside the church and embellished into the walls.

The total area of about 720 square meters along with two long rows of benches for the mass time, but sometimes this space inside the church is not enough because the number of followers is too many, especially on special occasions, like Christmas.

Summary of Huyen Sy Church in Ho Chi Minh City

Besides the famous Notre Dame Cathedral, Huyen Sy Church is one of the best churches in Ho Chi Minh City to explore and learn more about Catholicism in Eastern culture. Catholics maintain their belief in Jesus and the traditional way of Vietnamese life.

You can also learn how one of the four richest men in Ho Chi Minh City’s history made his fortune and decided to contribute most of his prosperity to the religion. Or simply take a tour around the church and enjoy the breezy atmosphere under the sun while gazing at its beauty.

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