November 9, 2016 : A Catholic church in the western Japanese city of Nagasaki has become the first in the country to be designated a "minor basilica," reports The Asahi Shimbun.

The Oura Church in 1865 was the site where a group of "hidden Christians" revealed their faith to a French missionary.

"The church was the scene of an event that marked a transition from an age when our faith was banned to an age when it became free to follow it," said Archbishop Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki, as reported by The Asahi Shimbun.

The pope grants a "minor basilica" title to important places of worship.

The Archdiocese of Nagasaki had applied for this status of minor basilica in February.

Read more about Archdiocese of Nagasaki at http://www.cbcj.catholic.jp/eng/ediocese/nagasaki.htm

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