Temple of The Cao Dai 

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Caodaism was founded in Saigon in 1925 by the mystic Ngo Van Chieu

His intention was to combine the three main religions of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism including also Christianity, Islam and the traditional Vietnamese  Cult of Ancestor Worship.   The faith of all Vietnamese coming under one  supreme being

The cathedral and Holy See at Long Than was built in 1927.  At the height of its power in the early 1930's there numbered one and a half million faithful.

 The Lonely Planet describes it as  a "rococo extravaganza combining the architectural idiosyncrasies of a French church, a Chinese pagoda, Tiger Balm Gardens and Madame Tussaud's"


Prayer sessions are held four times a day, visitors are welcome but not allowed on the floor of the temple.  We attended the noon time ceremony   On entry shoes were removed.  Men enter and worship on the right and women on the left.  We were directed to a balcony from where these photographs were taken.
There has been no Pope since 1933.  The three hooded figures on the front row are lady bishops.  Above the altar on a paper globe is the Cao Dai symbol of the divine eye surrounded by sun rays
The robes of the priests who are volunteers indicate the branch of  religion they represent. 

Yellow for Buddhism,

Red for Confucianism

Azure for Taoism.

We were warned that the clergy would be unwilling to be photographed but this was not the case.  Even the octogenarian lady bishops sat for a 'portrait


In spite of the somewhat bizarre surroundings we found the noonday ceremony with its music and chanting to be very moving 
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