History of Catholic Church in 1827 – 1890
At that time, the Commissioner-General was Leonardus Petrus Josephus Burggraaf Du Bus de Ghisignies, a Catholic who was also a Catholic, from the Vlaanderen region in Belgium. He has full authority in Batavia, as well as more power than a Governor-General. During the post of Du Bus De Ghisignies, 1825-1830, the Indonesian Catholic Church was able to breathe freely. He is Catholic and is very concerned about the needs of the people. He was also instrumental in creating freedom of religious life in Batavia at that time. One of the services is the Regeringsreglement which he made, in article 97 it was put: “The implementation of all religions is protected by the government.” He also urged Father Prinsen to settle in Jakarta immediately.
Seeing the urgent need of the people for the church to be a place of worship, Ghisignies sought a place to establish a new church. He gave the opportunity to the Cathedral Church Council to buy the former Governor General’s palace in the west/north corner of Banteng Square (formerly Waterlooplein), which was then used as an office by the Ministry of Defense. At that time, on the land stood the building of the former commander of General de Kock’s army. Catholics were given the opportunity to buy the big house for 20,000 guilders. The church administrator received a reduction in the price of 10,000 guilders and a loan from the government of 8,000 guilders, which had to be repaid in one year without interest.
In 1826 Ghisignies ordered Ir. Tromp to complete the “White House,” which was started by Daendels (1809) and is now used by the Ministry of Finance in Banteng Field. Ir. Tromp was also asked to build an official residence for the commander of the Armed Forces (1830) and is now known as the Pancasila Building on Jl. Pejambon. Third-order to Ir. Tromp was designing the first Catholic Church in Batavia. The place is now the Cathedral Church.
At the urging of Commissioner-General Du Bus De Ghisignies, Ir. Tromp designed a 33 x 17-meter cross-shaped new church. The altar room is made in a semicircle, while in the long main room, six pillars are installed. This building style is baroque-gothic-classicism, neogothic-patterned windows, baroque-style faces, pilasters, and two buildings left and left classicistic. The tower looks rather short and is decorated with a small dome on it. So, the building style is called eclecticism. Plus, two buildings for the rectory flanking the church on either side and a row of rooms behind him. Apparently, the design of Ir. This Tromp required substantial funds and exceeded the financial capacity of the church at that time. Then this design was never carried out.
Therefore, the building was obtained by the Catholics, at the suggestion of Ir. Tromp was overhauled in such a way that it could be used for the church. This building is actually a building with a large room between two rows of pillars. On both sides, its length is equipped with aisles. In the middle of the roof was built a small six square tower. In the east part of the original house is maintained for the priest’s residence and in the west for the boarding house. The Grand Altar is a gift from Commissioner General du Bus Ghisignies. The church, which is 35 meters long and 17 meters wide, on November 6, 1829, was blessed by Monseigneur Prinsen and given the name, Santa Maria Raised to Heaven.
The church was sufficient to assist the priests in carrying out its mission of service in Batavia. More and more people are participating in mass. For the first time, on May 8, 1834, four indigenous Javanese were baptized in this church.
Over time, the church suffered a lot of damage. Improvements made are patchy only. Then in 1859, a major renovation was held. According to the observation of a building expert, the tower in the middle of the roof is the cause of damage and leakage. The tower was too heavy for the roof structure of the church, so that is pressed against the wall and caused leaks everywhere. Therefore it is proposed to dismantle the small tower and replace it with a new tower located above the entrance to the west. Finally, on May 31, 1880, the church began to function again after it was completely renovated.
Nearly ten years later, April 9, 1890, found parts of the church that began to be damaged, A pile of lime and sand-strewn near a pillar. This situation was quite alarming for the priests, especially Fr. Kortenhorst, who had stepped on the pile of lime and sand that morning. On the same day around pk. 9:00 a.m., Father Kortenhorst and Father Luypen examine the church situation. One of the pillars seems worrying. At 10:30 a.m., the pillar was looking worse and more alarming. Many chalks began to come loose again. Not long after, when the priests entered the sacristy, the church building collapsed with a terrible roar. The entire yard is covered in dust so that people cannot see more than five steps. The time of the day was 10:45 a.m. It was exactly three days after the Easter celebration.
When the dust had begun to fall, the destruction of the church began to become apparent. The roof is gaping. Before this event, there were still 68 benches made of teak wood, and now only ten are left, the rest are heavily damaged. In addition, what remained intact were the altar, the court of the priest, and the sacristy and the tower.
The condition of the church at that time was very severe, and it was not possible to hold mass. For the time being, mass is held in the horse-drawn carriage garage, which is adapted for the emerging church.