Monday, May 2, 2016

7 Must-Visit Old Catholic Churches in Manila

       Philippines is the largest Catholic country in Asia and one of the largest Christian and Roman Catholic country in the world. When Spaniards colonized Manila, churches were built. Today, some of these churches are still present and had continued to be the home of Filipino catholic for several hundred years. Despite Manila's urbanization, these old churches were preserved and are taken due care. When I first came here in Manila, the first thing that I've done was to visit a church and pray. Since then, it has been my habit to visit other churches in Manila, especially those which are old and rich in history, Below are the some of the old churches worth a visit.

1. Quiapo Church (Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene) 

       Quiapo Church is a prominent Mexican baroque Roman Catholic basilica located in the District of Quiapo in the City of Manila, Philippines. The basilica is famous home for the shrine of the Black Nazarene, a dark statue of Jesus Christ many claim to be miraculous. The parish is under the Archdiocese of Manila. Every January, the Feast of the Black Nazarene is being celebrated attended by millions of devotees from all over the country.

       The church had been a favorite filming location for both movies and television.

2. San Sebastian Church 

       San Sebastian Church is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Quiapo, Manila  and the seat of the Parish of San Sebastian. Completed in 1891, San Sebastian Church is noted for its architectural features. an example of the revival of Gothic architecture in the Philippines, it is the only all-steel temple in the Philippines, and is the only prefabricated steel church in the world. In 2006, San Sebastian Church was included in the Tentative List for possible designation as a World Heritage Site. It was designated as a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1973.

     San Sebastian Church is under the care of The Order of the Augustinian Recollects, who also operate a college adjacent to the basilica. It is located at Plaza del Carmen, at the eastern end of Recto Avenue, in Quiapo, Manila.

     Ambeth Ocampo, a Filipino historian and writer, came to confirm of a news he has heard that Gustave Eiffel, an archtech who designed the Eiffel Tower,  designed a steel church in Asia. Inspecting the church, he later declared that the metal fixtures and the overall structure were no less designed by Gustave Eiffel. This, however, was not confirmed.

3. Malate Church (Nuestra Señora de los Remedios)

       This is a Baroque-style church fronted by Plaza Rajah Sulayman and, ultimately, Manila Bay. The church is dedicated to Nuestra Señora de los Remedios ("Our Lady of Remedies"), the patroness of childbirth. A revered statue of the Virgin Mary in her role as Our Lady of Remedies was brought from Spain in 1624 and stands at the altar.

      In 1624, Fr. Juan de Guevara brought from Andalucía, Spain the image of the Virgen de los Remedios which was said to be very miraculous. It "had graceful features," says San Agustin, "was half vara high (417 mm.) and slightly brown." Fr. Castro's version is different. "I saw the image a thousand times," writes Castro, "but she never looked brown to me, but rather white with hands and face of white ivory." The devotion to the Virgen de los Remedios made Malate a very famous sanctuary. People flocked to venerate the image, especially on Saturdays. Women presented their babies to the Virgin.

4. Santa Cruz Church 

       This a Baroque church located in Plaza Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz district, Manila, Philippines. It was built when the arrabal (suburb) of Santa Cruz was established by the Jesuits in the early 17th century. The church had undergone many repairs and reconstruction, with the last reconstruction done in the 1950s. Today, the church architecture employs a California Spanish Mission façade silhouette with the usual Filipino (Asian-Hispanic) baroque ornamentation. The church facade is topped with an effigy statue of Our Lady of the Pillar, the patroness of the church whose feast happens during the second week of October.

      The Jesuits built the first Catholic church in the area where the present Santa Cruz Parish stands on June 20, 1619. The original church design was made of stone and wood. The Jesuits enshrined the image of Our Lady of Pilar in 1643 to serve the predominantly Chinese residents in the area.The first church was made of stone and wood was built in the 17th century. On June 3, 1863 an earthquake destroyed the church. Fr. Agustin de Mendoza began reconstruction work on the church in 1868

5. Binondo Church (Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Paris)

       This is located in the District of Binondo, Manila fronting Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz, in the Philippines. This church was founded by Dominican priests in 1596 to serve their Chinese converts to Christianity.The original building was destroyed in 1762 by British bombardment. A new granite church was completed on the same site in 1852 however it was greatly damaged during the Second World War, with only the western façade and the octagonal belfry surviving.

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, who was born of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, trained in this church and afterwards went as a missionary to Japan, where he and his companions were martyred for refusing to renounce Christianity. Ruiz is the Philippines' first saint, and was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1987. A large statue of the saint stands in front of the church.

6. San Agustin Church (Immaculate Conception Parish Church of San Agustin)

      It is known as the Church of St Paul and was originally built in 1571 as the first church of the Agustinian Order. Now the first disaster occurred in 1574 when Chinese pirates destroyed it. Then in the next twelve years it had a problem with fire and was burnt to the ground twice, in 1583 and again in 1586.

     It was then decided to rebuild the San Agustin Church in stone. The rebuilding started in 1587 and took to 1604 to be completed. However just because it was built of stone didn't mean it was not going to have an easy life. It survived the earthquakes of 1645, 1754, 1863 and 1880, not a bad effort. The San Agustin Church Manila was ransacked by the British in 1762 and was damaged during the battle of Manila at the end of World War II in 1945. In a way it has faired better than others in Intramuros in particular Manila Cathedral.

     In 1993, San Agustin Church was one of four Philippine churches constructed during the Spanish colonial period to be designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, under the collective title Baroque Churches of the Philippines. It was named a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1976.

7. Manila Cathedral (Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception)

       The cathedral was originally the "church of Manila" officially established in 1571 by a secular priest, Juan de Vivero, who arrived in Manila Bay in 1566.De Vivero, the chaplain on the galleon of San Gerónimo, was sent by the Archbishop of Mexico, Alonso de Montúfar, to establish Christianity as the spiritual and religious administration in newly colonized Philippines. De Vivero later became the vicar-general and the first ecclesiastical judge of the city of Manila.

       Located at Plaza de Roma in the Intramuros district of the City of Manila, the cathedral was originally a parish church owned and governed by the Archdiocese of Mexico in 1571, until it became a separate diocese on 6 February 1579 upon the issuance of the papal bull, Illius Fulti Praesido by Pope Gregory XIII. The cathedral was damaged and destroyed several times since the original structure was built in 1581 while the eighth and current instance of the cathedral was finally completed in 1958. The cathedral is the home of the archbishop of Manila.

        There are still a lot of old churches in Manila and will update this blog from time to time. The churches above are proofs that Filipinos has a strong connection to God. -Jon-

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