phenomenal growth. As mentioned above, two dioceses had been established in Vietnam in i659, the exterior (northern) and the interior (southern). In i679, the exterior diocese was split into two: tay (western) and dong (eastern). In 1846, the western diocese was itself divided into tay ky (western), now Hanoi, and nam ky (southern), now Vinh; and in 1895, another diocese was added, called Doai, later known as Hung Hoa. In 1901, a further diocese was established, Thanh, later known as Phat Diem. In 1848, the eastern diocese was divided into two: dong ky (eastern), now Hai Phong, and trung ky (central), now Bui Chu. In 1883, a new diocese was founded called Bac (northern), later known as Bac Ninh. In 1913, another diocese was established, Phu Doan, later known as Lang Son. Thus, by 1915, in the exterior or northern part of the country, there were eight dioceses. The four in the west were entrusted to the MEP, and the four in the east to the Dominicans.
In the interior or southern part, in 1844, the diocese was divided into Dong (eastern), now Qui Nhon, and Tay (western), now Saigon (since 1975, Ho Chi Minh City). In 1850, a diocese was added to the western diocese, called Bac (northern), now Hue. In the same year, a diocese was also added into the eastern diocese, called CaoMien, now Phnom Penh (Cambodia). By 1915, there were therefore four dioceses in the interior or southern part of the country. Clearly, in the nineteenth century, the centre of gravity of Vietnamese Christianity was located in the north. By 1915, there were thus twelve dioceses in Vietnam. The number of Catholics was estimated at 870,000, an increase from 400,000 in i860, not counting the 130,000 killed during the persecution under the Nguyen dynasty and by the Van Than. The number of priests in 1900 was 385.
During the nineteenth century, several religious orders, male and female, came to Vietnam, in addition to the already present Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans and MEP. They were the Sisters of Saint Paul (i860) the Carmelite Sisters (1861) and the Christian Brothers of St Jean-Baptiste de la Salle (1866).
During this century several important churches were built, including the cathedrals of Hanoi (1886, Gothic style), Saigon (1880, Gothic and Roman style) and Hue (1902, Gothic style). The most famous is the church at Phat Diem, built by a priest by the name of Tran Luc (1825-99), popularly known as Cu Sau. Fourteen years in preparation and four years in construction (1891-5), the church is unique in Asia for its magnificent oriental architecture.
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